According to the latest UNWTO statistics "a record number of tourists travelled around the world in 2004 and the number of arrivals increased by 10 per cent to reach nearly 764 million, adding nearly 70 million more tourists to the 2003 total" . The same statistics indicate that one billion tourists will travel around the world by the end of this decade. These millions of people are already consuming and will continue to demand enormous quantities of energy, water, and natural resources to support their holidays.
The UNEP's tourism and environment programme is operating under the Sustainable Consumption and Production Branch. The overall objective of the SCP branch is to promote and facilitate the extraction, processing and consumption of natural resources in a more environmentally sustainable way over the whole life cycle. Within this framework the resource efficiency priority is one of the main thematic areas of our programme. The main challenges of resource efficiency in the tourism sector are related to the use and management of resources needed by tourism (water and energy and use and waste management) and to the sustainable management and operations of tourism business.