UNWTO and Swedish Tourism launch new initiative at Rio+20

UNWTO and the Swedish Travel and Tourism Industry Federation (RTS) have launched a joint project entitled “Down to Earth for Tourism” at the Rio+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development. The project is a Swedish initiative that is now being developed together with UNWTO and is generating international attention as a high-profile project that uses space missions and technologies as catalysts for innovation. 

RTS and UNWTO have signed a partnership agreement on the global project Down to Earth for Tourism, which applies experience from space exploration and the International Space Station to identify innovative solutions for the development of sustainable tourism. The goal is to develop tools and models that can be repurposed globally and assist other countries, regions and future tourist destinations in sustainable development. A pilot project has already been carried out in China and Scandinavia and the project is now being launched internationally.

“Sweden is already among the top contenders for its innovation, space technologies and sustainability. To put it simply, it is thrilling to begin a partnership with the UNWTO on innovation in tourism. Our vision is to establish a ‘mission control centre’ based in Stockholm where planning and concept development will take place and be distributed globally within the framework of the project,” said Jan Lundin, President of the Swedish Travel and Tourism Industry Federation.

The Down to Earth for Tourism project is based on a concept produced by Swedish innovation company Umbilical Design, which used the “astronaut lifestyle” as its starting point. By looking at the use of closed looped systems in space regarding material, technology and resource scarcity, the same approach can be applied to sustainable tourism development for future destinations, travel and tourist attractions. New innovations can be developed by transferring know-how from space missions in order to meet future challenges related to climate change, a higher population and environmental impact.

With space as the catalyst for innovation, the aim is for Down to Earth for Tourism to help in achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by, for example, creating new jobs, innovative services and products for sustainable growth.



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