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Tourism and SDG 2 – Zero hunger

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Food is an integrated part of the travel experience. We discover local dishes and try different ingredients. We also learn about local cultures through the exciting tastes and cultures around dining.

You won’t often bump into hungry tourists, but many of the countries visited still experience scarcity in food. 821 million people in the world are undernourished every day. That is 1 out of 9 people. 

Tourism can stimulate sustainable agriculture by making food production more profitable. When local farmers get to take part in value creation through production, and the use and sale of local raw materials in tourist destinations, they are integrated into the value chain of tourism. Food production can supply hotels and tour operators, and local products can be sold to tourists and locals. 

It is important that we in tourism understand the value of shopping locally, and not least that we choose responsible local suppliers. More revenue for locals will also provide more efficient solutions and better technology, which in turn can provide better production. 

This means that we also have to make demands to our subcontractors.

There is an enormous potential in the growing segment of agro-tourism that complements traditional agricultural activities. Many farmers, for example, offer accommodation and experiences. This increase in income can lead to a more varied agriculture, and increase the value of the experience.

This trend has also made it possible for “ethnic” food to increase its visibility. This helps to preserve local food and culture. And in many cases this can also lead to increased exports to international markets. In a modern world, more and more people want to move away from the standardized. They seek “authenticity” through food and drink. 

Economic growth alone will not be able to solve the hunger problem. Much of the solution lies in how we use our resources. Our consumer society is a big part of the problem. Food waste for example. We throw an infinite amount of food. Fully usable quality food goes straight into the trash, and hotels with their buffets are among the biggest culprits. The potential for improvement here is enormous. 

If we as tourism players manage to reduce food waste, we will also save money and resources. And we’ll have more food available to fight hunger. It is extremely important that tourism continue to increase its efforts to reduce waste.

Part of solving the waste problem lies in local food production. A lot of food is destroyed during transportation, and destroyed food goes straight into the trash. Where I come from, many people work in salmon farming. There’s a saying there that “no one is busier than a dead salmon”. Even though the food is transported to other parts of the world, I believe it illustrates the point pretty well. Less travel time means better quality. 

Better and healthier food for everyone contributes to improved health and quality of life.

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