Do your bit: Focus on days highlighting international issues International Days and Observances
World Tourism Day
27 September
It was at its third session (Torremolinos, Spain, September 1979), that the General Assembly of the World Tourism Organization (UNUNWTO) decided to institute, commencing in the year 1980.

WORLD TOURISM DAY is commemorated on 27 September each year by appropriate events on themes selected by the General Assembly, on recommendation of UNWTO's Executive Council. This date was chosen to coincide with an important milestone in world tourism: the anniversary of the adoption of the UNWTO Statutes on 27 September 1970.

The main purpose of World Tourism Day is to foster awareness among the international community of the importance of tourism and its social, cultural, political and economic values.

Promoting and developing tourism with a view to contributing to economic development, international understanding, peace, prosperity, and universal respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms for all is at the heart of UNWTO's mandate. Every people and every place possess a unique culture. Experiencing different ways of life, discovering new food and customs and visiting cultural sites have become leading motivations for travel, and as a result, a crucial source of revenue and job creation, particularly for developing countries. Income from tourism is often redirected towards the safeguarding of these sites and even the revitalization of cultures.

Ultimately, tourism is an economic sector based on human interaction, exchange and dialogue. WTD 2011 is a call to all those involved in tourism to act in a way that is conscious and respectful of culture, which promotes intercultural dialogue and ensures that local communities fully participate in, and benefit from, the development opportunities of tourism.

- Taleb Rifai, UNWTO Secretary-General, UNWTO

"Tourism - Linking Cultures"

The 2011 theme is a celebration of tourism's role in linking together the cultures of the world through travel.

With millions of people travelling the world each year, never before have so many people been to so many places, nor been so exposed to other cultures.

This interaction between individuals and communities, and their diverse cultures, leads to tolerance, respect and mutual understanding - the building blocks for a more peaceful world.

Host country: Egypt

World Tourism Day themes since 2000:
  • 2000 - Technology and nature: two challenges for tourism at the dawn of the twenty-first century
  • 2001 - Tourism: a toll for peace and dialogue among civilizations
  • 2002 - Ecotourism, the key to sustainable development
  • 2003 - Tourism: a driving force for poverty alleviation, job creation and social harmony
  • 2004 - Sport and tourism: two living forces for mutual understanding, culture and the development of societies
  • 2005 - Travel and transport: from the imaginary of Jules Verne to the reality of the 21st century
  • 2006 - Tourism Enriches
  • 2007 - Tourism opens doors for women
  • 2008 - Tourism: Responding to the Challenge of Climate Change
  • 2009 - Tourism - Celebrating Diversity
  • 2010 - Tourism and Biodiversity

Additional Resources:

GDRC has been working on themes related to sustainable tourism, in its programme on Urban Environmental Management.

GDRC therefore reaffirms its committment to uphold the objectives of the World Tourism Day, and work towards better understanding of, and action on, highliting the criticality of tourism management to contribute to long-term sustainability and poverty alleviation.

GDRC's Sustainable Tourism Gateway celebrates its third anniversary today.

One of the most popular sections in GDRC's website, the Gateway was launched on 27 September 2008 []

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