World Tourism Day – 27th September 2021

Why do we celebrate on World Tourism Day?

Many of us dream of travelling the world. If you have read Jules Verne book or seen the movie “Around the World in 80 Days” you’ve probably made a list of places all over the world that you need to visit during your life. 

World Tourism Day is celebrated each year on the 27th of September by the UNWTO (United Nations World Tourism Organization). The holiday was first established in the 1980s, five years before the foundation of the UNWTO. Each year the theme of the holiday changes, and in 2021, in order to commemorate tourism but also to remember the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the tourism sector, the topic is: Inclusive Growth. The main line of World Tourism Day 2021: Inclusive Growth is: “Behind every number there is a person”. 

The UN SDG (United Nations Sustainable Development Goals), also known as the 2030 Global Agenda main goal is: “Leave No One Behind”. As part of the 2030 Agenda, the 27th of September the UNWTO aims to acknowledge workers of the tourist sector, as well as promoting sustainable tourism.  The theme of this year: “Behind every number there is a person” refers to worldwide statistics on tourism, which this past year have been hardly affected by job losses and working instabilities due to a decrease in the third sector of the global economy, specifically on tourism and services related to tourism. 

Why do we need tourism?

Tourism is essential for social, cultural, political and economic value. Tourism helps to discover and protect history, traditions, cultural, natural and national heritage. It promotes intercultural, economic and social exchanges. Tourism is also related to mental and physical rest and therefore it can be part of a healthy lifestyle. 

In September 2021, more than one and a half years from the start of the Covid-19 crisis and travelling restrictions, many countries are trying to open their borders to welcome travellers that prove covid vaccination or pcr tests. 

Tourism: the largest economic sector of the world

Tourism is the largest economic sector of the world and it affects 1 out of 10 jobs in the world, according to the UNWTO. It is a basic part of macro and microeconomics, livelihoods, public services and other activities. In 2019 it was the third-largest export category in the world after energy supplies. If tourism is affected there are approximately 100 million direct jobs at risk. Some countries and regions are especially vulnerable to changes in the tourism sector because a big percentage of their GDP depends on it. 

Popular tourist destinations

The most visited tourist destinations of the world are: 

  • Eiffel Tower, in Paris, France
  • Roman Colosseum, the biggest Roman Empire attraction in Rome, Italy
  • Liberty Statue in New York, the U.S., a gift from France to the U.S.
  • Machu Picchu, in Peru
  • Egyptians pyramids, in El Cairo, Egypt, which are more than 4,500 years old
  • Chinese Great Wall, built during the 14 and 17th centuries
  • Acropolis in Athens, Greece, dated in 438 B.C.
  • Taj Mahal, India, 17th century.

Environmentally friendly tourism 

Many of these attractions are historic, cultural and natural treasures that need to be preserved. We have talked about the good side of tourism: it promotes social inclusion and integration, international mobility, intercultural exchanges and a happier, more intercultural and globally-rich society. 

But tourism also has a hard impact on the environment. 7% of tourism is wildlife tourism, and in Africa it represents 80% of the total tourism. Overpopulation, pollution, waste of energy due to services and transport as well as other human activities related to tourism can harm our planet, especially some regions and populations that are more vulnerable than others. 

In PRODER we encourage all people, regardless of their age, gender and condition, to travel, both inside and outside of their country. Travelling, whether it is to the other side of the globe or to your neighbour town, will broaden your mental and geographic horizon, discover new ways of life and perspectives, meet people from different cultures, live great experiences and learn more from life.

Irene Adolph Crespo