World Tourism Day

Everyone from the tourism industry is planning to observe World Tourism Day in their own unique way. However, there are many who are still wondering about the significance of this day. To address these curious minds, the World Luxury Travel Magazine talks about this day and how it is not only important for the tourism industry but also for the mass.

The World Tourism Day is celebrated on September 27 every year. The date has a special significance as it was chosen to mark the anniversary of the day when the statutes of the UNWTO (United Nations World Tourism Organization) were adopted in 1970. This is considered a major milestone in the history of global tourism. The World Tourism Day is observed to create global awareness about the importance of tourism and its impact on society in various fields.

“World Tourism Day is an opportunity to reflect on the importance of tourism to global well-being. As we travel, let us engage with other cultures and celebrate human diversity. On this observance, let us recognize tourism as a force for a more tolerant, open and united world.” Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations.

History: The idea of World Tourism Day was born in the 3rd session of the UNWTO General Assembly in 1979 and it has been celebrated since 1980. In 1997 the UNWTO General Assembly decided to choose a host country every year from various regions, which would collaborate with the organization in celebrating the World Tourism Day. In 2003 the geographic order of regions hosting celebrations was decided.Special themes are chosen as theme of the year to bring the focus on a particular issue. Past themes have included ‘Tourism and Cultures’, ‘Tourism Enriches’ and ‘Tourism and Biodiversity’.The UNWTO Secretary-General sends a message every year to all the people across the world to participate in observing this day. Various tourism-based organizations and government agencies with a tourist link celebrate the event. The Day is marked by holding various special events and festivities. Various activities are held including photo competitions with tourism as the theme, tourism awards, discounts and special offers on tourist sites or special tours or free entries and so on.

World Tourism Day 2012

The World Tourism Day 2012 will have ‘Tourism and Sustainable Energy: Powering Sustainable Development’ as its theme.This theme coincides with the UN International Year of Sustainable Energy for All, and will reinforce the synergy of tourism and energy sectors in contributing to the successful achievement of the UN objectives with regard to sustainability. Maspalomas, Spain will play host to the official celebrations this year. This is indeed a highly appropriate choice as Spain is among the world’s top five countries focussing on renewable energy with 20 per cent of the country’s energy consumption coming from renewable sources.This year’s theme serves to highlight the role of tourism in promoting sustainability with focus on access to affordable and efficient energy services for the whole world. Tourism has a major hand in sustainable energy initiatives, whether it is in the field of renewable energy sources in the aviation sector or energy saving measures implemented in hotels all over the world. The tourism industry is not only focussed on environment-friendly measures but it is also throwing up employment opportunities for millions in various sectors including tourism and energy.

World Tourism Day 2012 Events

A host of events are lined up as part of the official celebrations including the Annual World Tourism Day Photo Competition and a Twitter Competition. The UNWTO is also giving invitations to visit the “online energy school”, which is a part of a UNWTO initiated project – Hotel Energy Solutions, designed for hoteliers to help them to cut carbon emissions. A ‘Think Tank’ also forms a part of the celebrations in which top experts and policy makers in the tourism and energy sectors will participate.

Get involved

The observance of this day is not confined to only a handful of highbrow officials or tourism and energy related organisations. This day is also significant for every individual in his capacity as inhabitant of the planet Earth – for you, for me. Each one of us is responsible for contributing our bit to protect the natural resources of our planet. We can start by making a mental commitment towards conserving our planet’s energy resources, as —

A tourist: Simple steps like switching off lights in hotel rooms, unplugging electrical appliances when not in use; showering instead of bathing, not asking for linen change every day unless necessary, will help save energy and water.

A tour operator: Use renewable sources of energy for supplying power to offices and vehicles. Be aware of your carbon footprint; reduce carbon emissions and costs by using Hotel Energy Solutions E-toolkit.

There are a whole range of other activities to mark this day to bring about awareness. For instance, we can hold events or competitions on the current theme of the World Tourism Day; go on a trip as a responsible traveller (read the Global Code of Ethics for Tourism before the trip) and take advantage of the free entry and special discounts offered by many destinations on this day. Above all we must remember that the planet and its resources are limited and it is our responsibility to protect it by using them sensibly.

  1. Shilpa

    Thanks for the great article on World Tourism Day and help realizing the masses about its importance.

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