Rethink Tourism: Sector gets ready to celebrate World Tourism Day 2022


The countdown to World Tourism Day 2022 is now underway, with every part of the sector invited to be an active part of the annual celebrations.

With the theme of ‘Rethinking Tourism’, the International Day of Observance will this year focus on re-imagining the sector’s growth, both in terms of size and relevance. The Republic of Indonesia will host the official day (September 27), though all UNWTO Member States, as well as non-members and stakeholders from across the private sector, are being invited to host their own celebrations as well as to promote the day and its central theme.

Speaking on this year’s edition, Zurab Pololikashvili, secretary-general, UNWTO, says: “The potential of tourism is enormous, and we have a shared responsibility to make sure it is fully realized. On World Tourism Day 2022, UNWTO calls on everyone, from tourism workers to tourists themselves, as well as small businesses, large corporations and governments to reflect and rethink what we do and how we do it.”

World Tourism Day has been held on September 27th each year 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 UNWTO five years later.

According to Pololikashvili, World Tourism Day has always been a chance to come together and celebrate the many and varied accomplishments of the sector, noting further that for the best part of four decades, the sector has celebrated tourism’s unparalleled growth – in size, in reach and in significance.

“In 2022, we once again recognize the opportunities that tourism has brought – and continues to bring – people everywhere.

“However, this year especially we also recognize that we cannot go back to the old ways of working. We must Rethink Tourism. As the world opens up again, we must learn the lessons of the pandemic and the associated pause in international travel.

“In exposing weaknesses, the crisis showed us where we can build more resilience. And in exposing inequalities, it also showed us where we can deliver more fairness”, Pololikashvili said.

The UNWTO secretary general disclosed that the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, along with its 17 Sustainable Development Goals, remain the sector’s end goal. However, he said every part of the sector, from UNWTO and governments at the top down to destinations and small businesses at the bottom, must rethink how all will get there and it would require restructuring business models so that they put people first.

“Tourism has always worked for young people, for women and for communities. But now it must truly work with them as well. We need new voices as well as new ideas if we are to transform our sector and build a better tourism for all.

“Rethinking one of the world’s major economic sectors will not be easy. But we are already well on the way. Crisis has inspired and catalyzed creativity. And the pandemic accelerated the transformation of work, bringing both challenges as well as enormous opportunities to ensure even more people get to benefit from tourism’s restart. We are also making significant progress in making tourism a central driver of the green, the blue and the digital economies, ensuring growth does not come at the expense of people or planet”, he said.

Meanwhile, the official World Tourism Day celebration will be held in Bali, Indonesia, on September 27, 2022 and it will highlight the shift towards tourism being recognized as a crucial pillar of development.

Expressing the readiness of his country to host the global edition of the celebration, Sandiaga Salahuddin Uno, Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy of the Republic of Indonesia, noted that the Asian country is most delighted to be the host for the World Tourism Day celebrations this year.

“It is such an exciting moment for us, Indonesians, especially the people of Bali to welcome you for World Tourism Day celebrations. It is also our proud moment to show the global community to witness and experience the progress that we have made in Bali. For those who have been to Bali, we once again bestow the culture, the beaches, the food, the people and their hospitality. And for those of you who have yet to visit Bali, now is the time because Bali is now open and waiting for all of you, as beautiful as it has ever been”, the minister said.

The pandemic, according to him, highlighted the critical need to transform the tourism industry and now the global sector finally celebrates World Tourism Day as the global tourism slowly recovers.

“As emphasized by the theme, the tourism industry needs to be prepared for future challenges which require collaboration and a sense of interconnectedness between one another.

“First, stakeholders’ approach to the development of a sustainable tourism sector, second, a strong role within the community as the agent of change in tourism transformation, and third, safety assurance for visitors during travel.

Read also: Securing the future of tourism with youth at the center of gravity

“Let’s celebrate and form the future of tourism that is sustainable, stronger, more inclusive, and empowering for the planet we live in and the people who rely on it. Because even though tourism potential grows, the core has to be humanity. Thus, no matter how we navigate tourism in the future the end goal must be inclusivity for all people.

Nigeria is also getting ready to celebrate this year’s World Tourism Day. The celebration will be held in Lagos courtesy of the Federation of Tourism Associations of Nigeria (FTAN).

According to Samuel Alabi, chairman, Board of Trustees, FTAN, the celebration must have a buy-in by all tourism stakeholders.

Alabi disclosed that the celebration by FTAN should engender collaborative efforts and a platform for unity of purpose for the growth of the sector.

“This committee should not be about fundraising alone, even though very critical to the hosting the event but it should work hard to bring both the private sector and government together” Alabi, who expressed his willingness to support FTAN and the industry in his own little way, said.

Speaking at a reception to welcome FTAN fundraising team headed by Gani Tarzan Balogun, who was on a courtesy visit, to brief about the WTD celebration outing, Alabi, who doubles as the legal advisor and company secretary, Eko Hotels Ltd, took time off to provide guidelines to sustainable fund raising blueprint for the private sector association.

Earlier in his address, Balogun, who led Kate Ejike and Tunde Kolade, members of the fund raising committee to the visit, disclosed that the committee thought it expedient to brief Alabi as spiritual head of FTAN and wish to be guided to ensure a successful celebration on September 27, 2022 in Lagos.

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