World Tourism Day 2021 will be held on 27 September. Since 1980, the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) has been celebrating this day every year as a reminder that tourism is essential for awareness about cultures, societies, the environment, businesses and human development.
Through programmes, events and other campaigns, the UNWTO aims to showcase tourism’s role in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
World Tourism Day is celebrated on 27 September because it was on this date in 1970 when the UNWTO Statutes were adopted.
It is also interesting to note that the anniversary coincides with the end of, what is known as, “high season” in the northern hemisphere and the “beginning of the season” in the southern hemisphere.
High season, or peak season, is a period when a country or its geography witnesses a surge in tourism. In other words, world tourism by the number of tourists reaches its maximum during this period.
Since its founding, the United Nations’ World Tourism Day has been raising a series of significant issues concerning world tourism and highlighting its “contribution in the preservation of cultural heritage and to peace and mutual understanding.”
Among the notable themes in recent years were Tourism & Sustainable Energy: Powering Sustainable Development in 2012 and Tourism and Rural Development in 2020.
What is the theme of World Tourism Day 2021?
Tourism for Inclusive Growth is the theme for World Tourism Day 2021. Simply put, the aim is to help people associated with tourism in every way possible.
In keeping with the World Tourism Day theme, the UNWTO has urged tourists, businesses, sister UN agencies as well as both Member States and non-members to raise awareness about tourism’s immense potential to uplift those who have been badly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
In his official message, Zurab Pololikashvili, Secretary-General, UNWTO, said, “By celebrating this day, we state our commitment that, as tourism grows, the benefits that come will be felt at every level of our broad and diverse sector, from the biggest airline to the smallest family business.”
What does Tourism for Inclusive Growth aim to achieve?
The UNWTO recognises that marginalised groups and the most vulnerable have been bearing the brunt of the pandemic that ravaged the world last year.
Tourism came to a grinding halt as nations went into lockdowns, resulting in economic losses to both developed and developing countries. The social impact, too, was felt across the world.
According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), an additional 32 million people were pushed into extreme poverty in 2020.
Though the pandemic hasn’t ended, many countries have started to reopen operations with precautions in place, thanks to increased vaccinations and social awareness about the disease. Tourism has also commenced, along with businesses that depend on it.
As the tourism sector is slowly recovering, the UNWTO Secretary-General pledged “to build a more prosperous and peaceful world through tourism; we will not leave anyone behind.”
This year’s World Tourism Day pledge draws on the “Leave No One Behind” declaration mentioned in the Second Principle of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the SDGs.
World tourism is integral to realising Goals 1 (no poverty), 5 (gender equality), 8 (decent work and economic growth) and 10 (reduce inequalities) of the SDGs.
This year’s World Tourism Day message, therefore, states the benefits of recovery and growth and that no one will be left behind.
Which country is hosting World Tourism Day 2021?
The beautiful coastal country of West Africa, Côte d’Ivoire, is the host of World Tourism Day 2021.
Siandou Fofana, Minister of Tourism and Leisure of Côte d’Ivoire, said in a statement, “It is a new opportunity for the revival of our sector, with a view to the prosperity of our valued populations.”
“A land of hope and hospitality, it is the embodiment of the capacity for resilience that tourism is showing in the face of COVID-19, thanks to combined actions of all public actors with a more ambitious and dynamic policy that has unleashed the energy of all strata of society,” he added.
For the first time since its founding day, last year’s World Tourism Day had more than one host country. Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay, as part of the MERCOSUR bloc with Chile as member associate, jointly hosted the day.
How can you contribute to World Tourism Day 2021?
Keeping in mind the theme of this year’s World Tourism Day, the UNWTO has urged people around the world to showcase the importance of tourism in their respective countries through pictures and videos.
The objective is to highlight the positive impact of tourism on everything, including the humble tour guide as well as small businesses and local communities that are entirely dependent on tourists.
So, to participate in World Tourism Day celebrations this year, you’ll need to submit high-resolution photos of at least 300 dpi and a minute-long or a shorter video of at least 1080 pixels resolution.
Send them to [email protected], along with the following details specified in the UNWTO notification:
- Email subject: WTD 2021 footage (state name of your country)
- Contact person
Additionally, those who wish to bring in a change in the lives of the marginalised and others who have been adversely affected by the pandemic can follow UNWTO’s World Tourism Day 2021 Communications Toolkit on Trello.
The database contains photos, graphics and logos, among other materials, that can be used for sharing on social media to spread awareness about the event.
(Main and featured image: Nick Karvounis/Unsplash)