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World Tourism Day: Celebrating a Billion Opportunities

By The Maritime Executive 09-27-2015 05:50:30

Under the theme “One billion tourists, one billion opportunities,” World Tourism Day, September 27, emphasizes the impact of the sector on economic growth, job creation and development.

The U.N. Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon, stated in his message on the occasion: “Let us work together to maximize the immense potential of tourism to drive inclusive economic growth, protect the environment and promote sustainable development and a life of dignity for all.”

With five consecutive years of growth, tourism has been a major contributor to the economic recovery, creating jobs and opportunities for communities in many parts of the world. With an increase of four percent in international tourist arrivals in the first semester of 2015, the sector follows an increasing trend that is estimated to reach 1.8 billion international tourists by the year 2030.

“Every time we travel we are part of a global movement that has the power to drive inclusive development, to create jobs and to build the sustainable societies we want for our future,” said UNWTO Secretary General, Taleb Rifai in his World Tourism Day message. “This movement also contributes to build mutual understanding and to safeguard our shared natural and cultural heritage,” he added.

A transformative force, tourism brings livelihood opportunities and helps alleviate poverty, making a genuine difference in the lives of millions of people. At present, international tourism contributes $US 1.5 billion to global trade representing 30 percent of the world’s service exports, a share that goes up to 45 percent in Least Developed Countries (LDCs). Tourism also plays a key role in fostering multicultural understanding and contributing to the preservation of cultural and natural heritage.

This linkage is particularly relevant as the international community prepares to adopt the post-2015 agenda with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) where tourism has been identified as a sector that “creates jobs and promotes local culture and products.”

World Tourism Day has been celebrated on September 27 since 1980. This date coincides with the anniversary of the adoption of the UNWTO Statutes on September 27, 1970.