The world is coming together on Sept. 27 to mark World Tourism Day 2023, which is focused on redefining the direction of tourism investments – following the disruption caused by COVID-19 – for a more sustainable future.
This year, the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), under the theme “Tourism and green investment,” is highlighting the need for better-targeted investments for its Sustainable Development Goals, the UN roadmap for a better world by 2030.
“Now is the time for new and innovative solutions, not just traditional investments that promote and underpin economic growth and productivity,” the UNWTO writes on its website.
According to the UNWTO, tourism employs one in every ten people on earth.
Tourism in rural areas can particularly benefit traditionally disadvantaged groups such as women, who make up 54 per cent of the workforce in the tourism sector compared to 39 per cent for the whole economy – youth and Indigenous people.
In emerging destinations, 50 per cent of young people are unable to work in tourism due to a lack of opportunity, resources, or access to academic training.
"Tourism has never been more important for our economies or for our societies. Its potential is enormous. And so, 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 in a statement.
Official UNWTO celebrations marking the day will be held today in Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
UNWTO's Member States will mark the occasion in every region with a range of special events and programmes.
The day will focus on the importance of investment for people, for planet and for prosperity (by investing in innovation, technology and entrepreneurship).
The Caribbean perspective
Other World Tourism Day events are taking place elsewhere in the world, and online.
The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), collaborating with partners from the tourism, academia, and regional and international development communities, will jointly host a virtual forum on Sept. 27 from 9:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. ET/AT.
The virtual gathering will explore the UNWTO theme of “Investing in People, Planet and Prosperity.”
“We look forward to discussing and exchanging insights on such an important theme, which underscores the imperative of critical investments to enable tourism to fulfill its potential as a catalyst for social and economic development while embracing responsible environmental stewardship,” stated CTO Secretary-General Dona Regis-Prosper.
The webinar, supported by a line-up of speakers, will highlight the urgency for the public and private sectors to equip the tourism workforce with the necessary skills to meet evolving market demands influenced by green technologies and Artificial Intelligence.
Additionally, the event will showcase the tourism sector’s commitment to climate action, sustainability, and responsible tourism.
For more information and registration, click here.
GX summit in Peru
Additionally, G Adventures’ inaugural tourism summit, called “GX,” is currently taking place in Cusco, Peru, where PAX is currently reporting on location.
The multi-day event, which began last week, is designed to showcase the power of community tourism.
Attendees, since last week, have been visiting local enterprises developed in partnership with G’s non-profit, Planeterra, which helps communities use tourism as a catalyst to improve people's lives, protect their natural environments, and celebrate their culture.
The summit culminates today, on World Tourism Day, where all attendees will come together for a day of inspiring keynote talks and lively discussions.
The conversations will tackle important issues, such as how community tourism can have a long and lasting (and positive) impact on communities – especially for women.
Canadian travel advisors will be on the scene, too – this year’s 2023 Change Makers event will also be hosted as part of GX.
“I can’t wait to show our community of communities just how transformative travel can be when it’s done right – not just for local people, but also for our guests as they see what a pivotal role they play in empowering people working in the tourism sector,” said Bruce Poon Tip, founder of G Adventures, previously.
G Adventures, today, announced a new “Trees for Days” initiative, bringing the protection of the environment and empowerment of local communities closer together to enact powerful change through travel and tourism.
As of today (Sept. 27), for every day a traveller is on a G Adventures trip, one tree will be grown in their name, helping to both mitigate carbon emissions and increase support in 17 local communities around the world.
“As the pioneers of community tourism, supporting local communities is at the core of our DNA. With the increasing urgency to help our planet, I’m thrilled to be announcing our Trees for Days initiative in partnership with Planeterra and Reforest. Our non-profit partner, Planeterra has been instrumental in sourcing the community based tree planting projects, and Reforest - which we invested in last year – is providing the technology platform," noted Poon Tip in a statement.
“Our travellers care about making a difference when they travel - and they do that simply by booking a tour with G Adventures. Together, we will address how community tourism can play an important role in helping the planet heal, while uplifting local communities, through reforestation and positive local impact."
Stay tuned for PAX’s on-location report from the GX summit.
The first World Tourism Day was held in 1980.
As the Global Day of Observance for tourism, it offers a chance to celebrate the sector's vital role in advancing peace and prosperity while UNWTO's global regions take turns in hosting official celebrations, with a relevant theme.