Investing in People, Planet and Prosperity: World Tourism Day
On September 27th, we celebrated World Tourism Day, a day dedicated to promoting the importance of tourism worldwide. This year, the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has identified a crucial theme: the need for more and better-targeted investments in tourism for the betterment of people, the planet, and prosperity. We navigate a post-pandemic world and chart the course for the future of tourism, this theme is more relevant than ever.
THE SIGNIFICANCE OF TOURISM
Tourism is not merely about traveling and sightseeing; it is a global economic powerhouse. It contributes significantly to the GDP of many nations, provides employment opportunities, and fosters cultural exchange. Furthermore, tourism has the potential to promote sustainable development by supporting local communities and preserving natural resources.
However, the COVID-19 pandemic sent shockwaves through the tourism industry, bringing international travel to a standstill and causing immense economic and social disruptions. As countries are gradually reopening their borders and welcoming travellers again, the focus shifts towards rebuilding a more resilient and sustainable tourism sector.
THE CONCEPT NOTE
UNWTO highlights the need for more and better-targeted traditional and non-traditional investments are required for People, for Planet and for Prosperity, to enable tourism to deliver on its massive potential to provide opportunities for people, to build resilient, to accelerate climate action and greater sustainability for the planet and deliver inclusive prosperity around the pillars of innovation and entrepreneurship.
UNWTO has identified investments as a key priority for the sector, serving as the bridge between its Member States, destinations, businesses and investors, culminating in World Tourism Day 2023, which will be a call to action to the international community, governments, multilateral financial institutions, development partners and private sector investors to unite around a new tourism investment strategy.
The international observance day for tourism will highlight the vital need to deliver investment for projects that work for People (by investing in education and skills), Planet (by investing in sustainable infrastructure and accelerating green transformation) and Prosperity (by investing in innovation, technology and entrepreneurship).
THE CALL FOR INVESTMENTS
UNWTO has recognized that investments are paramount to tourism's recovery and future growth. These investments should go beyond the conventional understanding of economic returns and encompass the broader goals of sustainability and inclusivity. World Tourism Day 2023 serves as a call to action for governments, financial institutions, development partners, and private sector investors to rally around a new tourism investment strategy that is both innovative and forward-thinking.
INVESTING IN PEOPLE: PRIORITIZING EDUCATION AND UP SCALING SKILLS
Investing in people within the tourism sector means ensuring that tourism-related jobs are not only available but also fair and equitable. It involves training and up skilling the workforce, promoting diversity and inclusion, and creating opportunities for local communities to participate in and benefit from tourism activities. By investing in people, we can elevate the quality of tourism experiences and enhance the well-being of individuals and communities.
INVESTING IN THE PLANET: SUPPORTING TOURISM’S GREEN TRANSITION
Tourism has a symbiotic relationship with the environment. Natural beauty and cultural heritage are the primary attractions for tourists. Therefore, sustainable tourism practices are essential to protect these assets. Investments should focus on eco-friendly infrastructure, renewable energy, waste management, and the conservation of biodiversity. By doing so, we can ensure that tourism does not harm the planet but contributes to its preservation.
INVESTING IN PROSPERITY: FOSTERING INNOVATION AND ENTREPRENEURSHIP
Prosperity in tourism goes beyond financial gains. It encompasses economic growth, social development, and cultural enrichment. Investment in tourism should prioritize projects that have a positive impact on local economies, support small and medium-sized enterprises, and facilitate community development. When prosperity is shared among all stakeholders, it creates a more sustainable and resilient tourism industry.
World Tourism Day 2023 is not just a celebration but a call to action. It urges the world to recognize the vital role of tourism and the need for strategic and sustainable investments in this sector. By investing in people, the planet, and prosperity, we can rebuild a stronger and more resilient tourism industry that benefits everyone involved. It is an opportunity for the international community, governments, financial institutions, and the private sector to unite and forge a path towards a more sustainable and inclusive future for tourism. So, let us commit to making tourism a force for positive change, today and for generations to come.
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Dr. Niraalee Shah
Founder: Image Building and Etiquette Mapping