On 27 September 2009, the world commemorates World Tourism Day for the 30th time. World Tourism Day is an annual focus on tourism-themed events identified by the UN General Assembly on the recommendation of the Executive Council of the UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO). It is hosted each year in a new country.
The 27th of September is significant for a couple of reasons. First, it is the anniversary of the establishment of the UNWTO. It also falls between the end of the northern hemisphere high season and start of the same in the southern hemisphere, a time when a large part of the entire planet is engaged in activities related to tourism.
As described by the UNWTO, “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.”
World Tourism Day 2009
“This year’s theme focuses on the world’s cultural wealth and the important role sustainable tourism plays in revitalizing local traditions and making them flourish as they cross other cultures,” says the UNWTO website.
“Every region of the world is distinct and thus has something both to offer and gain through travel and tourism, particularly less developed nations. It is the responsibility of industry stakeholders to harness these opportunities whilst facing the long term challenges engendered by travel and tourism.”
whl.travel in Action
The following is a cursory review of just four of the activities being undertaken by whl.travel partners across the globe in conjunction with World Tourism Day 2009.
whl.travel local partner in Mauritius:
“We have decided to go paperless. We are asking all our suppliers not to send invoices by postal service thus saving paper, envelopes and stamps – saving trees and nature. We are also asking them to please consider donating the savings to a project in their vicinity. We ourselves are working on ways to save on paper and looking for a project to support.”
whl.travel local partner in Morro de São Paulo, Brazil:
“In Morro de São Paulo, there will be an event at Hotel Village Paraíso Tropical at 6pm. At this event, each unit of the local College of Tourism will present views on the development of tourism to government representatives. The meeting will also see a presentation of the local culture (maculelê) and be followed by a debate among the participants.”
whl.travel local partner in Cambodia:
“We’ll meet up with some of the hoteliers in Siem Reap and discuss the upcoming high season and tourism in Cambodia in general. It isn’t really just because of World Tourism Day, but we’ll talk about role of tourism and how tourism affects the local community, so I suppose it’s on the same lines.”
whl.travel local partner in Antananarivo, Madagascar:
“Our company plans to attend an ‘open doors’ day organised by the Regional Office of Tourism of Antananarivo (ORTANA), the capital of Madagascar. This organisation has been created to promote tourism around the capital and they organise such visits for the local tour operators to update the information. It will be a sort of ‘rediscovery’ of the history of the capital with arts and crafts show rooms.”