Achieving sustainable local tourism and nature conservation

10 Dec 2021 13:00h - 14:00h

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Event report

Co-organised by V’air Hong Kong ( and Social Responsibility Practitioners), and moderated by Mr Edward Choi (Head of Research and Advocacy at V’air Hong Kong), this session was aimed at providing a platform for IT developers, digital innovators, policy makers, and civil society across the Asia-Pacific region to discuss how digital infrastructure development can enhance sustainable local tourism and nature conservation. The speakers included Ms Rui Cui (Founder of Social Responsibility Practitioners), Mr Edmon Chung (CEO of DotAsia Organisation), and Mr Kam-sing Wong (Secretary for the Environment of Hong Kong SAR).

Stressing the importance of multistakeholders’ role in promoting collaborative sustainable internet governance, Choi introduced the co-organisers and saluted the engagement of young volunteers from the NetMission Ambassador programme.

In their opening remarks, the three speakers provided a detailed overview of the best practices in field of digitalisation at the service of sustainable tourism, starting with examples from the Philippines, presented by Cui, whereby the use of social media to promote eco-tourism proved an invaluable help to local social enterprises. Especially significant during the current pandemic, resorting to working platforms and social media tools such as travel influencers, comments forums, infographics and events on FB, LinkedIn and Instagram rose to paramount importance for eco-business promotion and collaboration.

Along the same lines, as introduced by Chung, the use of internet as an education tool in support of the SDGs and sustainable tourism is the core mission of DotAsia, as demonstrated by its Eco Internet Initiative, supported by, APNIC Foundation, and the Heinrich Böll Foundation. Here the importance of raising awareness and educating youth on the challenges of internet and sustainability necessarily goes through measuring the carbon footprint of infrastructures, providing valuable indicators on the economy, energy, and efficiency across South-Asian and Pacific countries. In turn, this translates into an Eco-internet Index and a scoring card for each country, proving to be a useful tool for policy makers. Based on such findings, concrete measures towards a greener internet can be reached through informed policy recommendations on network construction, network operation, network use, etc.

The Hong Kong case study presented by Wong represents the best practice in the field of digitalisation, sustainability, eco-tourism, and climate action. The UNESCO-awarded Hong Kong Global Geopark, the Hong Kong SmartCity Blueprint 2.0, and Hong Kong’s Climate Action Plan 2050, are examples of innovative and responsible policy making, underpinned by an ambitious net zero carbon goal by 2050. In addition, Hong Kong acknowledges the fact that moving towards carbon neutrality is accompanied by the promise of  ‘ample and diverse development opportunities, enhancing competitiveness and supporting sustainable development’. The strategy put in place is thus supported by a climate budget of US$ 240 billion and by strong actions with regards to strengthening institutions, accelerating green financing, facilitating green industries, and engaging the public and local communities. Finally, an important pace is accorded to conservancy work, as Hong Kong boasts only 25% of urban territory and the other 75% offering great potential for preservation and eco-tourism.

Concluding the session, the moderator along with the three speakers stressed the need for multistakeholder involvement in shaping a new ‘green digital’ landscape which would support the SDG’s in practice and enable networking, dialogue, and collaboration to reach a truly sustainable tourism and nature conservation across Asia and the Pacific.

By Elena Ursache

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