Published on : Monday, September 27, 2021
World Tourism Day is celebrated each year on September 27 since it was established by the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) in 1980. On that day, the UNWTO adopted its Statutes, which are considered to be the milestone in global tourism. Ever since 1980, the UN organization has introduced a common theme to celebrate the day around the globe.
Each year World Tourism Day is observed with the purpose of raising awareness on the role of tourism within the international community and demonstrating how it affects social, cultural, political and economic values across the world.
The COVID-19 pandemic had a huge massive social and economic impact affecting both developed and developing economies. As per reports, the marginalized groups and vulnerable communities have been hit hardest of all.
However, it is believed that the restart of tourism will help boost the recovery and growth of the economies of the world. It is essential that the benefits of this recovery are enjoyed widely and fairly.
Keeping this thought in mind, UNWTO has designated World Tourism Day 2021 as a day to focus on “Tourism for Inclusive Growth”. This is an opportunity to look beyond tourism statistics and acknowledge that, behind every number, there is a person.
UNWTO has invited its Member States, as well as non-members, sister UN agencies, businesses and individuals 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.
The Concept of Tourism for Inclusive Growth
The travel and tourism industry has an unmatched sustained and diversified multiplier effect on the economy. It plays a crucial role in the overall development of a country. Tourism contributed to inclusive growth by creating jobs and opportunities for all sections of the society and helps in bridging economic inequalities.
The very essence of tourism and its future depends on the protection of natural, historical and cultural resources. Therefore, it plays a significant role in promoting sustainable growth and environmental protection, which is directly connected to a better future for humankind.
In addition to direct jobs in hotels, with tour operators, travel agencies, airlines and transport operators, tourism generates employment across a wide spectrum of skills on account of its significant backward and forward linkages.
Transport, construction, engineering, manufacturing, agriculture, food and horticulture, telecom, IT and healthcare are some of the sectors that get immense benefit from tourism. It also has a positive impact on the development of rural and backward areas, helping the revival of traditional art forms, crafts and cultural traditions.
Tourism also helps in pressurising various governments and civil society by highlighting major challenges facing the world, from climate change to global terrorism to communicable diseases. It is also a key driver in ushering in revolutionary technological changes and promoting technology diffusion, whether it is in information technology, aviation or in any other field. Considering all factors, it is certain that tourism can be used as a major tool for inclusive growth.
Key Agendas of UNWTO’s Tourism for Inclusive Growth
The theme for World Tourism Day 2021 stemmed from UNWTO’s 2030 agenda for tourism. Governments around the world created a milestone for global development in 2015 when they adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, along with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The bold agenda sets out a global framework to end extreme poverty, fight inequality and injustice, and fix climate change until 2030. Building on the historic Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the ambitious set of 17 Sustainable Development Goals and 169 associated targets is people-centred, transformative, universal and integrated.
According to UNWTO, tourism has the potential to contribute, directly or indirectly, to all of the sustainable development goals. The organization has most importantly highlighted inclusive and sustainable economic growth, sustainable consumption and production (SCP) and the sustainable use of oceans and marine resources, as part of its main agenda.
Sustainable tourism with focus on tourism for inclusive growth is firmly positioned in the 2030 Agenda. However, achieving the agenda would require a clear implementation framework, adequate financing and investment in technology, infrastructure and human resources.
The United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has already taken the first step by declaring “Tourism for Inclusive Growth” as the theme of World Tourism Day 2021. This will help in a better reach and allow major global economies to contribute to the great cause.