Since 1980, the United Nations World Tourism Organization has celebrated World Tourism Day on September 27. This date was chosen as on that day in 1970, the acts of the UNWTO were adopted. The adoption of these acts is considered a milestone in global tourism. The purpose of this day is to raise awareness on the role of tourism within the international community and to demonstrate how it affects social, cultural, political and economic values worldwide.
At its twelfth session in Istanbul, Turkey, in October of 1997, the UNWTO General Assembly decided to designate a host country each year to act as the Organization’s partner in the celebration of World Tourism Day. At its fifteenth session in Beijing, China, in October of 2003, the Assembly decided the following geographic order to be followed for World Tourism Day celebrations: 2006 in Europe; 2007 in South Asia; 2008 in the Americas and 2009 in Africa.
The UNWTO believes that the date for World Tourism Day is appropriate because it comes at the end of the high tourist season in the northern hemisphere and the start of the tourist season in the southern hemisphere, when tourism is of topical interest to many people worldwide, particularly travellers and those working in the tourism sector. Each year has a different theme – for example, “Tourism – Celebrating Diversity” was designated as the theme for 2009, with Ghana as the event’s host country for that year. What do people do? The UNWTO Secretary-General annually sends out a message to the general public to mark the occasion.
Many tourism enterprises and organizations, as well as government agencies with a special interest in tourism, celebrate the event with special events and festivities. Different types of competitions, such as photo competitions promoting tourism, as well as tourism award presentations, are held on that Day. Other activities include free entries, discounts or special offers for the general public to any site of tourism interest. Government and community leaders, as tourism business representatives, may make public announcements or offer special tours or fares to promote both their region and World Tourism Day.
Themes 1980- 2009 Year| Theme| 1980| Tourism’s contribution to the preservation of cultural heritage and to peace and mutual understanding| 1981| Tourism and the quality of life| 1982| Pride in travel: good guests and good hosts| 1983| Travel and holidays are a right but also a responsibility for all| 1984| Tourism for international understanding, peace and cooperation| 1985| Youth Tourism: cultural and historical heritage for peace and friendship| 1986| Tourism: a vital force for world peace| 1987| Tourism for development| 988| Tourism: education for all| 1989| The free movement of tourists creates one world| 1990| Tourism: an unrecognized industry, a service to be released| 1991| Communication, information and education: powerlines of tourism development| 1992| Tourism: a factor of growing social and economic solidarity and of encounter between people| 1993| Tourism development and environmental protection: towards a lasting harmony| 1994| Quality staff, quality tourism| 1995|
WTO: serving world tourism for twenty years| 1996| Tourism: a factor of tolerance and peace| 997| Tourism: a leading activity of the twenty-first century for job creation and environmental protection| 1998| Public-private sector partnership: the key to tourism development and promotion (Host: Mexico)| 1999| Tourism: preserving world heritage for the new millennium (Host: Chile)| 2000| Technology and nature: two challenges for tourism at the dawn of the twenty-first century (Host: Germany)| 2001| Tourism: a toll for peace and dialogue among civilizations (Host: Iran)| 2002| Ecotourism, the key to sustainable development (Host: Costa Rica)| 2003| Tourism: a driving force for poverty alleviation, job creation and social harmony (Host: Algeria)| 2004| Sport and tourism: two living forces for mutual understanding, culture and the development of societies (Host: Malaysia)| 2005| Travel and transport: from the imaginary of Jules Verne to the reality of the 21st century (Host: Qatar)| 2006| Tourism Enriches (Host: Portugal)| 2007| Tourism opens doors for women (Host: Sri Lanka)| 2008| Tourism Responding to the Challenge of Climate Change and global warming (Host: India)| 2009| Tourism – Celebrating Diversity (Host: Africa. )|