World Tourism Day exists since 1980 and it has been celebrated on 27 September ever since. This year’s celebration will take place in Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
1. Why tourism matters
World Tourism Day is a celebration aimed at raising awareness about the importance of tourism and its social, cultural, political, and economic impact on the global community. With growing concerns about the environment, this day also serves as an opportunity to promote responsible and sustainable tourism practices.
“Tourism has never been more important for our economies or for our societies. Its potential is enormous. An on this World Tourism Day, we celebrate tourism’s ability to drive growth while also highlighting the vital need for investments to ensure such growth is inclusive and sustainable,” said UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili.
Each year, the UNWTO selects a specific theme for the day to focus on a particular aspect of tourism. These themes often address relevant global challenges and opportunities related to tourism. This year, the UNWTO is celebrating World Tourism Day by focusing on the need for more and better-targeted investments for people, for the planet and for prosperity. UNWTO has identified investments as one of the key priorities for tourism’s recovery and future growth and development.
“Today, the climate emergency is threatening many travel destinations and the very survival of communities and economies that depend on tourism. And many developing countries that are severely affected by a changing climate are also facing a growing investment deficit and a cost-of-living crisis,” said UN Secretary-General António Guterres.
On this World Tourism Day, we recognize the vital need for green investments to build a tourism sector that delivers for people and planet.António Guterres, UN Secretary-General
It was at its 3rd session, in Torremolinos, Spain, September 1979, that the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) General Assembly decided to institute World Tourism Day, commencing in the year 1980. 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 timing of World Tourism Day is particularly appropriate as it marks the end of the high season in the northern hemisphere and the beginning of the season in the southern hemisphere. After all, tourism is more than just leisure travel; it’s a powerful force that shapes the world in meaningful ways. Beyond the joy of exploration, it plays a vital role in the economies, cultural exchanges, environmental awareness and much more.