Once again, the global tourism sector is excited to mark this year’s World Tourism Day, while celebrating the significance of tourism to global economies and social development.
Set aside to highlight the significance of the industry, the World Tourism Day, which is celebrated on 27th September every year, places the spotlight on tourism.
This year is celebrated on the theme, ‘Tourism and Green Investments’.
Moreover, the sector’s “new year” offers the tourism community and beyond the opportunity to dedicate themselves and strategize better. Celebrated over forty years now, each of the over four decades of celebration has created the opportunity for the industry particularly the public sector to lead the change the sector requires.
Also, the industry cannot highlight enough the impacts of Covid-19 on the tourism sector and by extension livelihoods and global economies.
The latest barometer released a few days ago better illustrates how the tourism sector has been battered.
But the good news is that the same report is giving the industry hope about recovery and investments fast taking a foothold again in the sector.
The above makes this year’s theme very significant to building back better with models that offer real hope for the future of the sector.
UNWTO has identified investments as one of the key priorities for tourism’s recovery and future growth and development. For World Tourism Day 2023, UNWTO highlights the need for more and better-targeted investments for people, for the planet and for prosperity.
In a video message, Zurab Pololikashvili, UNWTO secretary-general, with pleasure welcomed industry stakeholders to another celebration of the industry feats.
Speaking at the celebration, the UNWTO secretary-general said, “This is a chance to reflect on the importance of our sector. Tourism is a pillar of our economies. It plays a central role in our societies and in our individual lives.
“And it offers solutions to some of our biggest challenges – including the climate emergency and the urgent need to shift to more sustainable economies”.
According to him, the power of tourism is enormous; hence not a force that can be taken for granted and must be supported, above all with investment.
Speaking on this year’s, he said, “This World Tourism Day we recognize the theme of Tourism and Green Investments. The theme could not be timelier.
“July 2023 was the hottest year on record and extreme weather events like heat waves could become the new normal.
“Tourism needs to adapt and for this, we need to rethink how our sector is financed.
“We need to make it easier for investors of all kinds to support tourism projects with the potential to make a difference”.
The UNWTO boss called on the need for investments that can empower tourism to build a better and fairer future for all.
Lending a voice to tourism in his message for WTD 2023,
António Guterres, United Nations secretary-general, noted that tourism is a powerful force for progress and mutual understanding, but must be protected and nurtured in order to deliver its full benefits.
“Today, the climate emergency is threatening many travel destinations and the very survival of communities and economies that depend on tourism.
“Many developing countries that are severely affected by a changing climate are also facing a growing investment deficit and a cost-of-living crisis.
“On this World Tourism Day, we recognize the vital need for green investments to build a tourism sector that delivers for people and the planet,” the United Nations boss said.
Speaking further, he said that governments and businesses must invest in sustainable and resilient tourism practices, while the private actors must adopt zero-emission pathways, lower their energy consumption and leverage renewable forms of energy.
He charged everyone to protect the biodiversity and ecological balance of all destinations.
According to him, targeted investments can deliver jobs and support local businesses and industries while mitigating the environmental impacts of tourism, empowering communities, promoting their cultures, and contributing to essential social protection systems.
“So let us all do more to harness the full potential of sustainable tourism because investing in sustainable tourism is investing in a better future for all,” he concluded.