The United Nations (UN) World Tourism Day (WTD) is annually observed across the globe on 27 September to promote and raise awareness among the international community about the importance of tourism, and its social, cultural, political, and economic significance.
- The annual observance of WTD is led by the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), a UN specialized agency responsible for the promotion of responsible, sustainable and universally accessible tourism.
27th September 2023 marks the observance of 43rd World Tourism Day.
The 2023 theme kept by the UNWTO is, “Tourism and green investment”.
- With this theme, UNWTO highlights the need for more and better-targeted investments for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the UN roadmap for a better world by 2030.
Host of WTD 2023:
Annually, UNWTO designates a host country for the WTD celebrations. The host country for the WTD 2023 is the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
i.On September 1979, the UNWTO General Assembly at its 3rd session in Torremolinos (Spain), decided to institute WTD.
ii.The first-ever WTD was observed on 27 September 1980.
Why September 27?
The date coincides with the 10th anniversary of the adoption of UNWTO Statutes on September 27, 1970, paving the way for the establishment of UNWTO 5 years later.
Timing of WTD:
The timing of the observance of WTD aligns with the transition of tourist seasons between the northern and southern hemispheres.
- In the northern hemisphere, September marks the end of the high tourist season.
- Conversely, September indicates the onset of the tourist season in the southern hemisphere as spring blooms into summer.
i.WTD 2023 will be a call to action for the international community, governments, multilateral financial institutions, development partners, and private sector investors to unite around a new tourism investment strategy.
ii.WTD 2023 focus isn’t solely on conventional investments but also on innovative solutions that drive economic growth and productivity.
i.According to the UN,
- The tourism industry expects a need for millions of hospitality graduates annually until 2030. An additional 800,000 jobs per year will necessitate specialized vocational training.
- To meet this demand, people are the backbone of the tourism sector, and investing in their development is most important.
- Green Buildings in Emerging Market Cities offer a USD 24.7 trillion investment opportunity by 2030. Hotels, resorts, and restaurants alone account for a significant USD 1.5 trillion of this potential.
- Tourism presents diverse investment avenues for decarbonization initiatives. Investments in decarbonization solutions and climate-resilient infrastructure are essential to drive sustainability in the tourism industry.
ii.According to UNWTO, International tourism recovered 84% of pre-pandemic levels in the period January-July 2023 (a 16% decline compared to 2019).
- The early part of the Northern Hemisphere summer season and a strong second quarter played a crucial role in this recovery.
iii.The UNWTO-led Glasgow Declaration on Climate Action in Tourism to accelerate climate action, support the global commitment to halve emissions by 2030 and reach Net Zero as soon as possible before 2050.
- The Glasgow Declaration on Climate Action in Tourism was launched at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in November 2021.
A series of programs were organized for the WTD 2023 and was hosted at Four Seasons Hotel, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia from 27 – 28 September 2023.
- The events align with the 2023 theme of WTD, which focused on investing in people, the planet, and prosperity for fostering innovation and entrepreneurship and supporting Tourism’s green transition.
WTD 2023 events in India:
Ministry of Tourism(MoT) in partnership with the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC), United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has organised the Global Launch of ‘Travel for LiFE’(TFL), a sectoral program under Mission LiFE(Lifestyle for Environment), focusing the tourism sector.
- The event, held at Bharat Mandapam, New Delhi, Delhi, was virtually attended by the international organizations, participants from the G20 member countries and others.
Travel for LiFE was launched for two different verticals:
- Travel for LiFE for Cleanliness – a national TFL campaign for cleaning tourist sites and monuments in convergence with the Swachhata campaign
- Travel for LiFE for Rural Tourism – this encourages tourists to explore the rural and lesser-known hinterland promoting sustainable rural tourism thereby empowering rural communities.
About Travel for LiFE:
i.‘Travel for LiFE’ will promote tourists to adapt simple actions that will result in conservation of the environment, biodiversity, improvement in the local economy and preservation of the socio-cultural integrity of the local communities.
ii.This aims to create mindful and deliberate utilization of resources by the stakeholders in the tourism value chain.
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i.The Best Rural Tourism Village Awards were presented to 35 Rural Tourism Villages in Gold(5), Silver(10), and Bronze(20) Categories respectively.
- This aims to promote and preseve the cultural heritage and sustainable development of the villages through tourism.
ii.Intiatives like ‘Tourism for Tomorrow’ Competition, Design Edible Cutlery Competition, Yuva Tourism Club Merchandise and the Swachhata Campaign at 108 Tourism sites across India were launched during the event.
- Tourism for Tomorrow is a national Travel for LiFE competition for for case studies and best practices. This is in line with the key priorities of Goa Roadmap.
About United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO):
It is the UN agency responsible for the promotion of responsible, sustainable, and universally accessible tourism.
Secretary-General– Zurab Pololikashvili
Headquarters– Madrid, Spain
Established in– 1975