UNWTO highlights tourism’s role as a tool for development on World Tourism Day.

Wednesday 27th September was World Tourism Day; a day when the topic of sustainable tourism was even more heightened in the minds of all those in the sector.

As the United Nations’ General Assembly affirmed when announcing the adoption of 2017 as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, tourism can contribute to all the three dimensions of sustainable development – economic, social and environmental – and each of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Not only does the sector spearhead growth, it also improves the quality of people’s lives. It can bolster environmental protection, champion diverse cultural heritage, and strengthen peace in the world.

In this spirit, World Tourism Day 2017 presented a unique opportunity to raise awareness on the contribution of sustainable tourism to development among public and private sector decisionmakers and the international community, while mobilising all stakeholders to work together in making tourism a catalyst for positive change.

“Sustainable Tourism – a Tool for Development” – a message from Taleb Rifai, Secretary-General, World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) on World Tourism Day.

Tourism is today the 3rd largest export industry in the world after chemicals and fuels. It brings hope, prosperity and understanding to so many lives and livelihoods all over the world.

Last year alone, 1.235 billion travellers crossed international borders in one single year. By 2030, this figure will rise to 1.8 billion.

The question, as we celebrate World Tourism Day 2017, is how we can enable this powerful global transformative force, these 1.8 billion opportunities, to contribute to make this world a better place and to advance sustainable development in all its 5 pillars:

  1. Economic: yielding inclusive growth;
  2. Social: bringing decent jobs and empowering communities;
  3. Environmental: preserving and enriching the environment and addressing climate change;
  4. Cultural: celebrating and preserving diversity, identity, and tangible and intangible culture, and
  5. Peace: as an essential prerequisite for development and progress.

As 2017 is the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, this is a unique opportunity for all of us to come together to promote the contribution of travel and tourism as a grand 21st century human activity, to build a better future for people, planet, peace and prosperity.

This World Tourism Day, whenever you travel, wherever you travel, remember to: RESPECT NATURE,

You can be the change you want to see in the world.

You can be an ambassador for a better future.