It is 2021 World Tourism Day. It is observed globally every September 27 to focus on the significance of the travel industry’s social, economic, political, and cultural impact.
As one of the most relevant sectors globally, tourism employs millions of people, making them dependent on it for their livelihood. According to the UN, the tourism sector employs one in every ten people on Earth, and for some countries, it can represent over 20 per cent of their GDP.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a huge social and economic impact while both developed and developing economies have been hit.
The effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on the tourism industry is capable of resulting into more than $4 trillion loss to the global economy and experts do not expect a quick return to pre-COVID arrival levels until 2023 or later.
United Nations’ specialized agency entrusted with the promotion of responsible, sustainable and universally accessible tourism, World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) is guiding the global sector towards inclusive recovery and growth. It ensures every part of the sector has a say in its future – including communities, minorities, youth and those who would otherwise be at risk of being left behind.
Tourism is a recognized pillar of most of the Sustainable Development Goals (SGDs). These includes Goals 1 (no poverty), 5 (gender equality), 8 (decent work & economic growth) and 10 (reduce inequalities).
On this World Tourism Day, the COVID-19 pandemic represents an opportunity to rethink the future of the tourism industry. It has a unique ability to make sure everyone is carried along, as recognized by the Second Principle of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its SDGs.