World Tourism Day is celebrated on the 27th of September, that’s today to raise awareness of the need for accessible tourism; this year the day is being used to encourage sustainable tourism as a way to eradicate poverty. This year the theme of World Tourism Day is ‘Tourism for Inclusive Growth’.
This date was chosen as on that day in 1970, the Statutes of the UNWTO were adopted. The adoption of these Statutes is considered a milestone in global tourism. Since 1980, the United Nations World Tourism Organization has celebrated World Tourism Day as international observance on September 27.
About 10.2% of the world economy comes from Tourism. Tourism creates jobs, promotes local culture and products, works in the sustainable use and management of the environment, like marine resources, and improves measures to make tourism an inclusive experience for all.
But the COVID-19 pandemic is making Tourism suffer enormously, in the first five months of 2021, international tourist arrivals decreased by a huge 95% in parts of the world and forecasts suggest a loss of over $4 trillion to global GDP by the end of 2021. This is a major shock for developed economies, but for developing countries, it is a crisis. Tourism employs one in every ten people on Earth. Because of the pandemic, 100-120 million direct tourism jobs are at risk.
On this World Tourism Day, the COVID-19 pandemic represents an opportunity to rethink the future of the tourism sector.
António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations said this in his message on World Tourism Day 2021, “With many millions of livelihoods in jeopardy, it is time to rethink, transform, and safely restart tourism. With the right safeguards in place, the tourism sector can provide decent jobs, helping to build resilient, sustainable, gender-equal, inclusive economies and societies that work for everyone. This means targeted action and investment to shift towards green tourism – with high emitting sectors, including air and sea transport and hospitality, moving towards carbon neutrality. And it means giving everybody a say in how tourism shapes the future of our societies and our planet. Only through inclusive decision-making can we ensure inclusive, sustainable growth, deliver on the promise of the SDGs, and transform tourism to fulfil its potential as an engine for prosperity, a vehicle for integration, a means to protect our planet and biodiversity, and an agent of cultural understanding between peoples.”