Wake up: Tourism is NOT per se a force for good!
“Nice try” is the best one can say about the UNWTO 1 billion campaign. “Window-dressing” would be more honest. Any tourist professional knows about the issues of mass tourism (CO2 emissions, waste production, environmental pollution in general, waste of resources, displacement of local communities, poverty and social deprivation, violation of human rights, child abuse and trafficking, to name only the most serious ones) each of which is bad enough in itself.
To raise awareness means more than politically correct appeals to reason or humanity. If our objective is to create better places for people to live in and to visit we have to abandon the concept of endless economic growth. As long as tourism keeps to be measured by industrial standards there will be no progress in sustainability.
We cannot prevent the people from traveling? So lets stop thinking about saving the climate, Ghislain Dubois, founder of L’Association pour l’innovation et la recherche au service du climat, sarcastically states. Who ever is able to read French should definitely have a look at his article “Réveillons nous!” (http://www.tourisme-durable.org/avis-experts/transport-et-climat/1628-ghislain-dubois-reveillons-nous-le-transport-aerien-est-une-bombe-a-retardement-climatique-.html - thanks to @G_Cromer for sharing).
There are lots of examples revealing a considerable, and sometimes even frightening gap between words that claim to be in line with sustainable tourism goals and actions to implement them (http://www.2server.de/TourBlog/WordPress/the-eco-tourism-industry/). So the UNWTO would be better off spending its funds to tell the often inconvenient truth and supporting local communities in their struggle to implement sustainable tourism offers than nurture a fleeting vision of romantic philanthropy.