World Tourism Day is observed on 27 September annually to raise awareness about the significance of tourism and how it affects social, political, cultural, and economic values globally. The day is marked to highlight the importance of the tourism sector in promoting and preserving cultures and heritage around the world.
World Tourism Day also acknowledges the contributions the tourism sector can make towards attaining the Sustainable Development Goals. In times of the pandemic, as the tourism sector remains one of the worst affected sectors, here's a look at the history and significance of the day.
On 27 September 1970, the statutes of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) were adopted. Five years later, these statues, considered a milestone in global tourism, paved the way for the establishment of the UNWTO.
The UNWTO celebrated the first World Tourism Day on 27 September, 1980, to mark the occasion of its establishment. Ever since then, the day has been marked across the world.
This year, the theme of World Tourism Day is "Tourism for Inclusive Growth," focusing on growth and inclusive recovery. The UNWTO is focusing on the fact that there are people behind every tourism statistic and aims to acknowledge the same.
The international body said that it aims to ensure that every part of the tourism sector has a say in how the sector will shape in the future. The UNWTO said it would make efforts to "celebrate tourism's unique ability to ensure that nobody is left behind as the world begins to open up again and look to the future".
World Tourism Day remains significant as the sector employs one in every ten people on earth, according to the United Nations. For some nations, the sector represents over one-fifth of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
During the pandemic, 90 percent of world heritage sites were closed and millions, who were dependent on tourism for their livelihoods, left unemployed. The purpose of World Tourism Day is to highlight the importance the tourism sector plays in our lives and to focus on inclusive growth in the sector.