World Tourism Day calls for a rethink

MADRID, 22 August 2022: ‘Rethinking Tourism’ is the theme for this year’s World Tourism Day 2022, celebrated on 27 September with UNWTO designating Indonesia as the host country for the official celebrations.

UNWTO member states, non-members and stakeholders from the private sector are invited to host their celebrations and promote the day by focusing on the central theme of re-imagining the sector’s growth, both in size and relevance.

No one doubts the need to conduct a massive rethink of the tourism industry to meet sustainability and climate change challenges. But it’s a genuine year-long commitment that needs to be embraced across all tourism sectors rather than paying lip service on a particular day.

UNWTO should rethink the globetrotting its officials engage in to attend meetings. Travel executives should review the enormous carbon footprints they create in the name of business networking. Covid-19 taught us that most trade events we attend could function online using apps such as Zoom. Lessons learned are quickly forgotten as the need to gather for networking and a natter reassert themselves. Airlines need to speed up the adoption of sustainable aviation fuels (SAF). The present target aims to achieve net carbon emissions by 2050.   

“The potential of tourism is enormous, and we have a shared responsibility to make sure it is fully realised, said UNWTO secretary-general Zurab Pololikashvili in a media statement announcing World Tourism Day: “UNWTO calls on everyone from tourism workers to tourists themselves, as well as small businesses, large corporations and governments to reflect and rethink what we do and how we do it.”

World Tourism Day has been held on 27 September each year since 1980. The date marks the anniversary of the adoption of the Statutes of the Organisation in 1970, paving the way for the establishment of UNWTO five years later.

(Source: UNWTO)