We all love to travel and World Tourism Day is an occasion that allows us every year on September 27 to celebrate tourism all over the globe. It allows us to reflect on the contributions of the tourism industry, spread the word and make us ponder, how tourism is impacting the parameters of development. To provide information on the same, in this article, we will be talking about World Tourism Day, why is it celebrated, its present and past themes, how has global tourism changed since the pandemic. We will also be talking about the impact of tourism on climate and end with a FAQs section on the relevant topics.
So, without any delay let us start our reading adventure!
What is World Tourism Day?
- World Tourism Day is an occasion to celebrate the importance of tourism in terms of social, cultural, economic aspects and the impact it has on our society. It also celebrates the global challenges that the tourism industry faces and points out solutions in order to mitigate the same.
- World Tourism Day was first conceived on September 27, 1980 by UNWTO (United Nations World Tourism Organization) and has been celebrating the occasion since then. The UNWTO is an organisation that is focused primarily on the promotion and development of tourism. The proponent of the idea was late Ignatius Amaduwa Atigbi, a Nigerian national recognised for his contribution in 2009.
- The day September 27 was chosen as the World Tourism Day because it marks the anniversary of the Statutes of the Organization drafted in 1970. The Statutes are regarded as an essential and important milestone in global tourism.
- To celebrate World Tourism Day, the United Nations World Tourism Organization in October 1997 in Turkey decided to select a host country as a partner to the Organization. For 2019, India (New Delhi) became the partner to UNWTO to celebrate the occasion. In 2022, Indonesia (Bali) will serve as the host partner to UNWTO where several members and non-members inclusive of tourists, workers, businesses etc are invited to celebrate the occasion.
Why is World Tourism Day celebrated?
World Tourism Day is celebrated on September 27 every year to raise awareness about the significant role that tourism plays within the international community. It is also celebrated on that day to understand how tourism affects the societal values, economy, politics and culture in the world.
World Tourism Day theme
- The themes are recommended by the UNWTO Executive Council and finally selected by the UNWTO General Assembly.
- The World Tourism Day theme for 2022 is “Rethinking tourism”. The theme is all about re-imagining the growth of tourism sector, in terms of size, reach and relevance. The time will be to shift our focus from the old ways of working to rethink the new and innovative ways of the tourism sector and bring about its transformation. The day is meant to celebrate the opportunities and accomplishments that tourism has provided in the last four decades.
- The World Tourism Day theme for 2021 was “Tourism for Inclusive Growth” and the World Tourism Day 2020 theme was “Tourism and Rural Development”.
- The theme for 2019 World Tourism Day was “Tourism and Jobs: A better future for all”. The event of 2019 World Tourism Day took place at New Delhi in India.
How has global tourism changed?
- Tourism sector is one of the fastest growing sectors in the world that leads to an all round development of countries, including its inhabitants. In 2022, there are more travellers around the world than previous years. Gradually, people have been gaining more confidence in travel since the pandemic as restrictions around tourist destinations are being lifted.
- In 1990, there were 435 million tourist arrivals which increased to 1.442 billion between 1990-2018. By 2030, the variable is expected to reach 1.8 billion.
- Global tourism directly employs nearly 77 million people (3%) in the world. The global Travel and Tourism industry contributes 3.6% of the world’s GDP and indirectly contributes 10.3%.
- There has been a significant increase in the number of Asian tourists from China and East Asian countries. The young generation is also reported to take breaks from their stressful lives thus promoting tourism.
- Global tourism employs 1 person out of 10. By 2030, the United Nations World Tourism Organization estimates 3% annual growth in the tourism sector on a global level.
How has global tourism been affected by Covid?
- The global tourism has been harshly affected by Covid 19. Before the pandemic, tourism accounted for more than 10% of global GDP. The tourism-dependent countries has been particularly hit by the pandemic. World tourist places like Africa, Fiji and the Caribbean nations are the countries that witnessed decline in real GDP. Other world tourist places like USA, Florida, Hawaii has reduced employment opportunities or services.
- In a post-pandemic world, several countries are adopting their own innovative ways for the resurgence of tourism. While Thailand has contributed $700 to spur tourism, the government of Jamaica is providing online training certification courses to train 10,000 tourism workers. Likewise, Barbados is providing “Welcome stamp” visa to allow workers to work remotely from their own countries.
- As per a report by the National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER), following the pandemic, Indian tourism will be back to its original state not untill 2026. The Pacific Asia Travel states that international tourists traveling to Asia will reach its full potential of 100% between the years 2022 and 2023.
Tourism’s impact on the planet
Tourism has many negative impacts on the environment that are listed as follows:
- Pollution (Greenhouse gas emissions)
- Over consumption of natural resources
- Soil erosion
- Loss of natural habitat
- Endangered species facing the fear of extinction
- Overuse of water
- Overuse of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides etc
- The UNWTO spearheads the Glasgow Declaration on Climate Action in Tourism. It has several aims including reducing greenhouse gas emissions by half by 2030 and reach the target of net zero emissions before 2050. The current global greenhouse gas emissions accounts 5% of the total emissions. There will be a 25% rise of CO2 emissions between 2016 and 2030 which the Glasgow Declaration is trying to prevent.
- 450 signatories of the Declaration are committed to work in collaboration and accelerate climate action in tourism. It’s sole aim is not simply implemention or extending cooperation but also producing report on the progress made.
World Tourism Day activities
You can participate in the World Tourism Day activities in the following ways:
- Visiting museums or other tourist spots
- Spreading the word about World Tourism Day
- Attending forums and workshops
- Sharing your transformative tales of tourism
- Connecting with nature by hiking or boat riding.
- Tasting out food from local cuisines
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Who started World Tourism Day?
The United Nations World Tourism Day or UNWTO started the World Tourism Day on September 27, 1980.
What is the World Tourism Day theme 2022?
The World Tourism Day theme for 2022 is “Rethinking tourism”. It aims to re-imagine tourism in aspects of size, significance and relevance. The theme highlights perceiving tourism as one of the crucial pillars of development.
What was World Tourism Day theme 2021?
The World Tourism Day theme 2021 was “Tourism for Inclusive Growth”.
Which country will host World Tourism Day in 2022?
The Republic of Indonesia will host World Tourism Day in 2022.
What is the color of World Tourism Day?
The color of World Tourism Day is blue.
Travelling is something that we keep planning days ahead before we undertake the journey. It is a time to rejuvenate and refresh ourselves from the humdrum of life. Times have been hard when Covid 19 hit the world. We were cooped up in our homes but now, in the post-pandemic world, our travels have been slowly recuperating. We are trying to breathe free without contracting the deadly virus of Covid 19. As per data, currently 45 people are arriving at their travel destinations in a second. We hope to see this variable rise as countries take measures to mitigate the loss caused by the lack of tourist-visits. Let us celebrate the upcoming World Tourism Day with enthusiasm and hopefulness that the future for the tourism industry all across the globe will be a brighter one.
Do you have a recent travel journey to share with us? Is tourism transformative? How do you think your country could recover from the negative impacts of the Covid 19? Share with us by commenting in the comment section below.