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After a week of experiencing four seasons in one, it leaves one pondering, what can I do in my space to save the planet and myself. It is easy to ignore the talks on climate change and going green and dismiss them as complex. However, the easier option is for us to play our positive roles.

Orator supreme Barack Obama once noted that, “we are the first generation to feel the impact of climate change and the last generation that can do something about it.” All sectors have a role in the climate change conversation and Eswatini cannot be left out. It has been pleasing to see the Ministry of Tourism and Environmental Affairs playing a lead role in such issues and this week even its industry players, in particular tourism, illuminating their various firm efforts they make daily in this quest.


This past Wednesday marked World Tourism Day, and the theme was Tourism and Green Investments. The word green popped up again, as was with International Youth Day with the theme ‘Green Jobs for Youth’. Why is it all green now everywhere? Going green is described by the Cambridge dictionary as doing more to protect nature and the environment. The Eco Hub describes it as ‘environmentally friendly decisions to reduce, reuse and recycle.’ Further, it describes it as finding a balance between the life you lead, the impact life and your choices have on the planet, and being mindful enough to help maintain ecological balance to preserve the earth, its ecosystems, and its natural resources.

On World Tourism Day, commemorated at the Ngwenya Glass factory, in which I was in attendance and had a role, I marveled as various speakers broke down the importance of playing our role in the sustainability of the environment and the massive role tourism plays. Tourism is one of the world’s most important economic sectors. Equally, in Eswatini, it is a vital organ that keeps the economy alive. Globally, it employs one in every 10 people on earth and provides livelihoods to hundreds of millions more. Tourism in rural areas worldwide has particularly benefitted traditionally disadvantaged groups such as women, youth and indigenous people.

The awareness brought about by the role of tourism in green issues is thanks to the commemoration of the day. This feature consistently reiterates the importance of these globally commemorated days, their themes and how they impact lives. International days and weeks are occasions to educate the public on issues of concern, mobilise political will and resources, address global problems, and celebrate and reinforce humanity’s achievements. The United Nations (UNs) notes that the existence of international days predates the establishment of the UNs, but the UN has embraced it as a powerful advocacy tool. The event also brought to the fore the work being done by the Hospitality and Tourism Association of Eswatini.


This not-for-profit trade association has represented the hospitality, tourism, and allied industries since 1972. Imagine 1972, and it has taken days like this to truly appreciate their impact in the Eswatini sphere. As explained at the event, HOTAES’ primary goal is to facilitate the sustainable growth and development of Eswatini’s tourism sector to benefit its members, the kingdom and the people of Eswatini. HOTAES has a close working relationship with the Eswatini Tourism Authority (ETA), the official body responsible for promoting the country’s tourism. The commemoration amplified tourism’s work in the green space and how local hospitality establishments have made great strides.

For example, Ngwenya Glass, one of Eswatini’s most unique tourist experiences, won the Best for ‘Local Sourcing, Craft and Food’ award at this year’s World Travel Market (WTM) Responsible Tourism Awards. The World  Tourism  Day (WTD) highlighted the need for more and better-targeted investments for people, the planet, and prosperity. Now is the time for new and innovative solutions, not just traditional investments that promote and underpin economic growth and productivity. On WTD 2023, there was an emphasis on Tourism and Green Investments. The day focused on the importance of investment for people (by investing in education and skills).

Investment for the planet (by investing in sustainable infrastructure and accelerating green transformation) and investment for prosperity (by investing in innovation, technology and entrepreneurship). The demand for eco-tourism is high and will continue to grow. For several years, tourists have become more aware of the need to impact the destinations they visit positively. Eswatini, therefore, is rightly placed as one of the key destinations that can lure tourists for eco-tourism with its rich green scenery. For the hospitality industry, it means adopting sustainable practices, such as reducing carbon footprint, conserving water and minimising waste; these practices help protect fragile ecosystems and promote environmental sustainability. These also have a positive impact on savings for the establishment.

We are guided by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to achieve sustainable development globally. Goal 13 calls for urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts. It is intrinsically linked to all 16 of the other goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Note that this goal calls for urgent action. Meaning that going green has never been more crucial than now. The UN notes that affordable, scalable solutions are now available to enable countries to leapfrog to cleaner, more resilient economies.


It also notes that the pace of change is quickening as more people are turning to renewable energy and a range of other measures that will reduce emissions and increase adaptation efforts. Eswatini, as evidenced at WTD, is not too far behind. Even at home, you can play a role. This role can mean weather-stripping your home to make it more energy-efficient, air-drying your clothes to save energy, installing a rain barrel to save water, or recycling your pillows, jeans, socks, or waste and trash properly. So, let us pay attention to the need to go green in all our spaces, whether at home or work. With high costs of living being so consistent, going green and putting up solar power and cashing in on waste will give us savings and generate us revenue respectively. Going green is wise and crucial.