In a message referring to UN-sponsored World Tourism Day (WTD) on Sept. 27, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said that this yearآ’s observance of World Tourism Day focuses on the ability of tourism to fully empower people, stressing that engaging local populations in tourism development builds stronger and more resilient communities.
Tourism, he said, helps people to develop a variety of skills. As a service sector with cross-cutting impact on agriculture, construction or handicrafts, tourism creates millions of jobs and business opportunities, he said. Its capacity to lift people from poverty, promote gender empowerment and help protect the environment has made it a vital tool for achieving positive change in communities across the world, he added.
He said on World Tourism Day, he encourages the international tourism community to commit to sustainable policies and ensure that host communities worldwide share in the benefits generated by tourism.
This yearآ’s World Tourism Day (WTD) draws special attention to the role of tourism in contributing to one of the building blocks of a more sustainable future for all: Community development. This focus is in line with the global transition to the Sustainable Development Goals as the guiding principle promoted by the UN from 2015 and beyond.
As a sector representing 9 percent of global GDP, one in 11 jobs worldwide, and a key revenue sector for developing and emerging economies, tourism is widely acknowledged for its capacity to respond to global challenges. The consolidation of tourismآ’s economic influence has built up its social responsibility and political relevance, with a growing number of countries allocating a stronger mandate to tourism in economic and development policy planning.
With the special focus on the community, WTD 2014 highlights how tourism can be conducive to advancing sustainable development from the grassroots level. Community based tourism involves the local population in the decision making process according to local priorities. The opportunity to become part of the tourism value chain actively involves host communities in the development process. Tourism thus becomes a catalyst of social cohesion, going beyond the immediate impact of job creation and its positive economic consequences and enhances, for instance, local governance capabilities which multiply the tourism impact even further.
This year's official celebrations will take place in Guadalajara, Mexico and include a high-level Think Tank on the 2014 theme with the participation of tourism Ministers, international experts and policy makers in the field of tourism and development.