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World Tourism Day Observed on September 27, 2020; SAATHI App Launched 

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World Tourism Day - September 27 2020Since 1980, the World Tourism Day (WTD) is held annually on September 27 globally to raise awareness on the importance of tourism in the social, cultural, political and economic aspects of any region. The year 2020 marked a worst-hit on the tourism sector due to COVID-19 induced lockdowns and restriction on travels. However, to reshape this effect into opportunity, the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has designated 2020 as the Year of Tourism and Rural Development

  • Therefore, the 2020 edition of WTD was held with the theme “Tourism and Rural Development” to promote the potential of tourism to create jobs and opportunities in rural areas and to preserve cultural and natural heritage all around the world. 
  • Notably, this is for the first time that the official celebration was not hosted by a single Member State of the UNWTO’s instead, nations from the Mercosur bloc (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay, with Chile joining with observer status) served as joint hosts.

WTD 2020 Celebrations in India:

The Ministry of Tourism celebrated WTD 2020 through a virtual platform from New Delhi where Union Minister of Petroleum & Natural Gas and Steel Dharmendra Pradhan was the chief guest. It was also attended by Union Minister of Tourism and Culture (I/C) Prahlad Singh Patel, Secretary, Ministry of Tourism Yogendra Tripathi, Director General, Tourism Meenakshi Sharma, among others. The event saw the launch of initiatives which are as follows:

Launch of SAATHI Application:

During the event SAATHI (System for Assessment, Awareness & Training for Hospitality Industry) Application was launched by Dharmendra Pradhan. It is an initiative of the tourism ministry with the Quality Council of India (QCI) to assist the hospitality industry in safe operations covering staff, employees and guests.

Launch of film ‘Pathik’:

Dharmendra Pradhan also launched a film ‘Pathik’, an initiative on Incredible India Tourist Facilitators Certification Programme (IITFC) and an ICPB (India Convention Promotion Bureau) MICE (Meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions) Promotional film to communicate a positive message for welcoming events to India when competing destinations are already actively marketing their products. 

  • SAATHI has been developed based on the COVID-19 guidelines, as issued by the Ministry of Tourism and Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India.
  • IITFC Programme is a Pan-India online learning program aimed at creating a pool of trained professionals for facilitating the visit of tourists at destinations across the country.
  • ICPB is the only travel industry body with participation from the entire MICE industry. It is located in New Delhi.

Call for Switching to 100% Clean Fuels for Prime Tourist Cities:

Dharmendra Pradhan also called for collaborations to switch prime tourist cities to 100% clean fuels, which will help in protection of monuments and ensure a cleaner environment for the tourists.

Point to be noted:

In January 2020, the Ministry of Tourism initiated the DekhoApnaDesh (DAD) initiative asking every citizen to visit at least 15 destinations by the year 2022 to promote domestic tourism.  The year 2022 will mark 75 years of Independence.

K’taka Tourism policy unveiled, aiming at Rs 5,000 cr investment by 2025

On the occasion of WTD, the state government of Karnataka unveiled new Tourism policy with core themes of “Agri Tourism” and “Rural Tourism” aiming to generate over 10 lakh direct and indirect jobs in the sector and Rs 5,000 crore in investments by 2025. It was launched by Chief Minister (CM) Bookanakere Siddalingappa Yediyurappa and Tourism Minister C T Ravi.

  • This policy also envisages to increase the contribution of tourism from 14.8% to 20% of Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) by 2025.


  • Under this policy, a 360 degree marketing strategy will be adopted to promote the state in domestic and key international markets under Karnataka’s brand of “One State, Many Worlds”.


Key Points:

-A tourism development fund has been established under Karnataka Tourism Infrastructure Ltd (KTIL) as a strategic intervention for the development of land bank under Department of Tourism

-The Policy also provides incentives including financial assistance of up to Rs 1 lakh for tourism projects undertaking sustainability measures such as water conservation and harvesting, renewable energy sources, and pollution control measures.

How the year 2020 affected tourism?

The tourism sector offers young people a chance to earn a living without having to migrate as it employs one in every ten people, globally. But COVID-19 affected it in the following ways:

–100-120 million direct tourism jobs are at risk.

–Young people in rural areas are three times more likely to be unemployed.

–As per the latest UNWTO World Tourism Barometer, the near-complete lockdown led to a 98% fall in international tourist numbers in May, 2020 in comparison to 2019.

— There is 56% year-on-year drop in tourist arrivals between January and May, 2020.

–A decrease of 300 million tourists and US$320 billion lost in international tourism receipts is more than three times the loss during the Global Economic Crisis of 2009. 

–The UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) forecasted a loss of 1.5 to 2.8% of global Gross Domestic Product (GDP) due to decline in tourism in its July 2020 report. 

Tourism in Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs):

Tourism is an essential pillar of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development especially goals 8, 12, and 14. 

  • SDG 8 – Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • SDG 12- Responsible consumption and Production
  • SDG 14- Life Below Water

The year 2017 was designated as International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development (resolution A/RES/70/193) by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) to encourage support for tourism as a means of promoting sustainable development.

Recent Related News:

i.On May 11, 2020 According to the latest data of the UNWTO the international tourism could decline by 60-80% in 2020 when compared with 2019 figures due to COVID-19 pandemic outbreak which will result in loss of USD 910 billion to USD 1.2 trillion.

ii.United Nations Public Service Day is observed annually on June 23 to highlight the contribution of people associated with public service to the community. The day aims to acknowledge their role in the development process, to recognize their work and to encourage young people to pursue careers in the public sector.

About United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO):
Secretary-General– Zurab Pololikashvili
Headquarters– Madrid, Spain
Members– 159 Nations