What and When Is World Tourism Day?

World Tourism Day highlights the important role of tourism.
World Tourism Day highlights the important role of tourism.

World Tourism Day is an annual event observed by the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) on September 27. The idea of commemorating World Tourism Day on September 27 of every year was proposed by the late Ignatius Amaduwa Atigbi of Nigeria. The purpose of establishing World Tourism Day is to make the international community aware of the role of tourism and its impact on the social, political, economic, and cultural values of people around the world. The event seeks to address the global challenges highlighted in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and to discuss how the tourism industry contributes towards the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. The color of the event is blue.

History of World Tourism Day

The UNWTO General Assembly instituted World Tourism Day in September 1979 during its third session in Torremolinos, Spain. The Assembly chose to celebrate the international event on September 27 because the date coincides with a significant milestone in global tourism: the adoption of the UNWTO Statutes in 1970. The timing is also crucial to the tourism sector because it comes at the beginning of the high season in the southern hemisphere and the end of the season in the northern hemisphere.

The first World Tourism Day celebrations were held in 1980, and the theme of the event was "Tourism's contribution to the preservation of cultural heritage and to peace and mutual understanding." Since then, the UNWTO has observed World Tourism Day annually under a different theme selected by its General Assembly. In October 1997 the Assembly resolved to appoint a country to partner with the organization and host the event each year. The first country to host the event under the new protocol was Mexico. Six years later, in 2003, the UNWTO General Assembly agreed to follow a geographical order when designating a host country for the celebrations.

Celebrating World Tourism Day

World Tourism Day is strictly a UN observance hence it is not a public holiday in any country. The UNWTO invites all the stakeholders in the tourism sector as well as other interested parties to observe the day and participate in the special celebrations organized in their respective countries. People are also encouraged to visit both local and international destinations on this day to promote global tourism. The official event is held in a designated host country, and it is chaired by the Secretary-General of the UNWTO who is responsible for issuing a special message based on the theme of the celebrations each year to commemorate the occasion.

World Tourism Day 2018

In 2017, the official World Tourism Day celebrations were held in Doha, Qatar, under the theme "Sustainable Tourism: a Tool for Development." In 2018, the occasion is set to be held in Budapest, Hungary. The theme of this year's event is "Tourism and the Digital Transformation." Currently, the world is becoming digitized, and we are in an era where technology is impacting every aspect of our lives. One of the industries that is most affected by this transformation is the tourism sector, and all stakeholders are asked to come together and find solutions that will help the industry cope with the changes.


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