UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has said tourism is a powerful driver for sustainable development.
“There is no time to waste. Let us rethink and reinvent tourism and together, deliver a more sustainable, prosperous and resilient future for all,” he said in a message marking World Tourism Day that falls on September 27.
World Tourism Day has been observed since 1980.
The date marks the anniversary of the adoption of the Statutes of the Organization in 1970, paving the way for the establishment of the World Tourism Organization, the United Nations agency responsible for the promotion of responsible, sustainable and universally accessible tourism, five years later.
Guterres said World Tourism Day celebrates the power of tourism to foster inclusion, protect nature and promote cultural understanding.
He said tourism contributes to the education and empowerment of women and youth and advances the socioeconomic and cultural development of communities.
“It plays a critical part in the social protection systems that form the foundation for resilience and prosperity,” said the UN chief.
“We must create decent jobs and ensure profits that benefit the host country and local communities,” he said, adding that governments, businesses and consumers must align their tourism practices with the Sustainable Development Goals and a 1.5°C future.
This year’s UN Ocean Conference, where the global community and the tourism sector committed to building a legally binding agreement on plastics pollution by 2024, represents an important first step, Guterres said.
As the sector’s recovery gets underway and builds on unprecedented political and public recognition for the sector, UNWTO will highlight the opportunity to rethink how they do tourism.
This means putting people and the planet first and bringing everyone from governments and businesses to local communities together around a shared vision for a more sustainable, inclusive and resilient sector, according to the UNWTO.