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Why World Tourism Day exists

Tourism helps people put food on the table in homes throughout the world. The day is celebrated on September 27 each year.

The global tourism industry currently accounts for an incredible 10 percent jobs worldwide. That’s why World Tourism Day is celebrated on 27 September. Inaugurated in 1980, the date was chosen because the World Tourism Organization was founded on the same day ten years previously. The aim is to celebrate and highlight the importance of global tourism and, not least, how the industry can help achieve the UN's sustainability goals. Secretary General of the World Tourism Organization, Zurab Pololikashvili, states that tourism helps create a better future.

“Around the world, the tourism industry is a major source of employment, and an important driver of the economy both locally and nationally,” says Pololikashvili.

This year’s theme is: Tourism and Jobs: a better future for all.
“In many communities, jobs in the tourism industry help young people, women and people in rural areas to support themselves,” says Pololikashvili.

Tourism creates growth and happiness

In 2018, tourism generated a total of USD 1.7 trillion. The World Tourism Organization expects three percent annual growth in the sector.

Vibeke Montero

“The tourism industry is the single most successful industry in reducing poverty. When you stay in a hotel, not only does the hotel make money, so does the local community,” says journalist and travel commentator Vibeke Montero who writes for Norwegian newspaper VG.

She explains that when you stay at a hotel, not only does the hotel make money, so does the local community. The World Travel & The Tourist Council explains it as follows: When, for example, a traveler buys a plane ticket, eats at a restaurant, attends a concert or a sports event, the businesses that act as suppliers also make money. These businesses may be advertising agencies, energy suppliers, food producers, and cleaning services. This creates jobs where people receive wages and pay tax. The accrued tax revenue goes to infrastructure development, education, health care, and much more.  When traveling, it is therefore important to stay and eat at local hotels and restaurants. Montero also recommends using local operators when traveling.

“Choose activities that are run by locals and where you know that the revenue goes back to the local community.”

Protection

Two years ago, the theme of World Tourism Day was “sustainable tourism”. This continues to be a relevant topic. Tourism revenues often contribute to the protection of vulnerable nature and wildlife.

In 2018, tourism generated a total of USD 1.7 trillion

If, for example, you have ever bathed in the crystal-clear waters of Mallorca or Ibiza, you should know that the waters there are kept clean by the seagrass species posidonia, which also help give us the clear transparency we love. It has now been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  Spain works systematically to keep its coast clean and beautiful - and does that with income generated from tourism.

“Money generated by the ‘tourist tax’ is used to protect the environment and cultural heritage, and is also pumped into educational projects and initiatives that lay the foundations for research and innovation, and contribute to economic diversification,” says Karen Sand, Press Spokeswoman at the Tourist Office of Spain in Norway.

In this way, the tourists help protect nature to the benefit of both themselves and local residents.

Photo: Shutterstock

India on the agenda

There are many reasons to celebrate our desire to travel. This year, India is the host country for World Tourism Day. Tourism is also important in India.

“We believe that tourism is intrinsically linked to development and we want people to benefit from it,” says Prahlad Sing Patel, Indian Minister of Tourism, to Unwto.org

2018, tourism accounted for 6.7 percent of India's total GDP

The celebrations planned by the World Tourism Organization will take place in New Dehli and will consist of everything from cultural events to panel discussions and lectures. Participants are invited to take a day trip to the Taj Mahal. This is also where journalist Vibeke Montero had one of her greatest travel experiences. 
“While I waited for the sun to penetrate through the early morning mist, I got talking to a man. He had also gotten up early to experience the sunrise, which supposedly colors the marble tiles a beautiful golden orange. A few years later, we were married.  The story of Taj Mahal did something to me that day.”

But she is also happy that India is experiencing the positive effects of tourism.

“In 2018, tourism accounted for 6.7 percent of the country's total GDP, according to the WTTC. It’s an important financial contributor.”

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