World Tourism Day 2022: Time to Rethink Tourism

 Monday, August 15, 2022 

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Every year, on the 27th of September, the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) celebrates World Tourism Day marking the adoption of the Statutes of the Organization in 1970. It is the day to celebrate the importance of travel and tourism and promote of responsible, sustainable and universally accessible tourism across the world.

Indonesia has been designated as the official host for the World Tourism Day 2022 celebrations. Aplethora of events and summits scheduled for the month to follow. The central theme of the event this year is “Rethinking Tourism”. With international borders reopening and the tourism industry striving for revival after the pandemic years, Indonesia looks ahead to the future of tourism with optimism as the host country of World Tourism Day 2022.

Sustainable tourism in Indonesia

World Tourism Day 2022 will likely underscore the opportunity to rethink the prevailing tourism scene. As the most prestigious international tourism ceremony, Indonesia is hosting its first World Tourism Day this year. Through an array of celebration, this beautiful Asian country will commemorate its tourism boom by hosting the event at Nusa Dua in Bali.

The highlight of this year’s celebration is to put people and planet at the foremost. It also aims at bringing people from every walk of the society together for a sustainable, inclusive and resilient sector. World Tourism Day 2022 brings together tourism ministers from the UNWTO member states as well as international and local tourism sponsors from all walks of the society. A plethora of vibrant events and activities under the theme of “Rethinking Tourism” are scheduled for marking the historical moment.

Indonesia rethinks tourism

Indonesia’s tourism industry has brought forth some serious concerns including ecological impacts and social consequences. Many indigenous cultures have practically lost their identity with societies concerned with this industry. Cities are developing rapidly demanding for greater spaces for industry and agriculture. This has led to abandonment and abolition of rural areas and greenery of different regions.

Indonesia itself has approximately 75,000 villages and 1,200 among them are tourist villages. They have great potentials to accelerate the revival of sustainable tourism and increase the growth of the country’s economy. A major step towards such initiative is by inviting tourists who are looking for spending organic holidays.There is probably the best way to appreciate the priceless gift of Mother Nature than to actually shield and sustain its biodiversity. Thus, Indonesia establishes a suitable balance between the four pillars of sustainable tourism namely- community sensitivity, economic benefits, environmental protection and efficient management.

Indonesia is committed to keeping carbon dioxide emissions and create an eco-friendly global aviation sector. The country has 251 airports and is projected by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) to claim the rank of the world’s fourth largest air transportation market by 2036. To promote sustainable tourism in Indonesia, the aviation sector has become a priority to the country’s decisionmakers. The aviation sector directly supports tourism industry which is important for post pandemic national economic revival. One of the major steps towards building an environment friendly aviation system is by increasing the production and availability of sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) at affordable prices. Also, developing countries must be allowed more flexibility in implementing CO2 reduction effort so that it does not hinder the development of the country’s aviation sector.

Sustainable tourism in Bali

The small idyllic Indonesian island has been selected as a laboratory for experiments and analysis- a tropical getaway where sustainable projects have been undertaken for the past 40 years. Bali Sustainable Development Project (BSDP) was conceived as early as in 1987 and initiated in 1989. The five-years development scheme was designed to encourage rampant economic development in Bali and ensure and enhance its cultural values. Also, it was aimed at protecting the integrity of the island’s natural resources.

The Balinese philosophy is based on a cosmological philosophy which deeply connects all its inhabitants through their own cultures. It has a parallel to the Greek philosophy of the universe which says: “And wise men tell us, Callicles, that heaven and earth and gods and men are held together by communion and friendship, by orderliness, temperance, and justice; and that is the reason, my friend, why they call the whole of this world by the name of order, not of disorder or dissoluteness” (Plato, Gorgias, 508a).

Balinese people are deeply influenced by this worldview and share an intense connection with nature. Through daily activities, rituals and livelihood they combine wilderness with agriculture elements. Yet, tourism has been a significant part of the evolution of Balinese society for almost a century and has contributed seamlessly to shaping today’s Balinese society in all its diversity.

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