Campaign encourages green tourism

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Pretoria - The Department of Environmental Affairs in partnership with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), have launched the Green Passport Campaign aimed at encouraging visitors to make responsible travel choices whilst visiting South Africa for the FIFA World Cup.

The Green Passport Campaign is a key initiative in the 'Reduction the Carbon Footprint of Major Sporting Events' project.

According to the department, the Green Passport Campaign is about tourism that respects the environment and positively affects the economic and social development of local communities.

Speaking at the launch, the department's Chief Operations Officer, Andre Share, said the FIFA World Cup offers South Africa a unique opportunity to demonstrate to the world its commitment to responsible environmental management and showcase how it responds to the challenges facing the region and planet.

"Greening sporting events has its roots in successful greening activities first introduced at the Winter Olympic Games of 1994 in cooperation with UNEP.

"The Department of Environmental Affairs through its mandate to protect and enhance our environmental assets and natural resources has invested and committed itself in protecting our environment to ensure that the event is coordinated in respect of the greening principles," he said.

The Green Passport for the 2010 FIFA World Cup is an international initiative by UNEP and is being rolled out in South Africa as part of the legacy component of the department's national greening initiative.

According to Share, South Africa will put in place interventions to reduce emissions as a result of the World Cup by encouraging and promoting projects that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions as well as implementing initiatives within other key thematic areas.

Director of the United Nations Environment Programme, Satinder Bindra, said the primary function of the project was to create awareness about greening.

"Sporting events are a great way to reach out to people educating them about the environment," he said.

Since 2008, the UNEP has been promoting other Green Passport Campaigns and has raised awareness among tourists about their potential to contribute to sustainable tourism by making responsible holiday choices.

South Africa's hosting of the World Cup will be one of the most important global events to take place on the African Continent.