Your Majesty, ladies and gentlemen, dear eco-tourists,
Welcome to Oslo. And welcome to this Conference (on global ecotourism)
Norway is famous for its beautiful fjords, mountains and scenery. They are major tourist attractions. In fact, some of the Norwegian fjord landscapes are on the World Heritage List.
Ours is therefore a precious heritage. A heritage that belongs not just to present day tourists and Norwegians, but to future generations as well. It is our duty to take good care of this heritage. And it is not just the Ministry of the Environment’s responsibility. It is a joint responsibility with the tourist industry, local authorities and other stakeholders. They together must base their activities on principles of good, sustainable use of resources and best eco-practice.
In other words mutual cooperation between public and private interests and authorities at all levels, from global to national and to local is necessary to make tourism and tourist destinations greener.
The market for green tourism is growing. I am very hopeful about the possibilities for ecotourism development.
Tourism can be a blessing to a region. It can strengthen the local economy and enable local communities to take even better care of places with special values.
But there are dangers. Even ecotourism cannot be allowed to grow in an uncontrolled way. Many popular destinations can only cope with limited numbers of tourists. Beautiful places can be ruined by large scale tourism. Too many tourists may spoil the local culture, disturb the wildlife, cause degradation of natural areas and erode cultural monuments.
We must treat our landscape with care. Great care. In my view conservation of the landscape, of our natural and the cultural heritage is a key precondition for local development and ecotourism.
Conservation is important for all sorts of reasons – from conservation of biological diversity, cultural heritage and landscapes to public health...
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