World Tourism Day in Saudi Arabia: “Reviving Tourism”

RIYADH – World Tourism Day is celebrated on September 27th in Saudi Arabia and around the world to celebrate tourism’s role in fostering economic growth, social development, and cultural exchange. The theme for World Tourism Day in 2023 is “Reviving Tourism,” emphasizing the need to revive the tourism industry after the COVID-19 pandemic’s devastating effects. The pandemic has caused unprecedented disruption to the tourism industry, leading to business closures, job losses, and a sharp decline in travel.

World Tourism Day has been held on September 27th each year since 1980, when the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) decided to commemorate the anniversary of the adoption of its Statutes in 1970 . The Statutes are considered a milestone in global tourism, as they paved the way for the establishment of UNWTO five years later.

Each year, World Tourism Day has a different theme that reflects the current trends and challenges of the tourism sector. The themes are chosen by the UNWTO General Assembly, which also designates a host country each year to act as the Organization’s partner in the celebration of World Tourism Day.

The challenges of world tourism in the upcoming years are manifold, but they also present opportunities for innovation, collaboration, and transformation. Some of the key challenges include:

– Recovering from the impact of COVID-19 and restoring confidence and trust among travelers, destinations, and businesses.
– Adapting to the changing preferences and expectations of travelers, such as increased demand for digital services, health and safety measures, sustainability, and social responsibility.
– Promoting inclusive and equitable growth that benefits all stakeholders, especially marginalized groups and rural communities.
– Enhancing resilience and preparedness for future crises and shocks, such as natural disasters, geopolitical conflicts, or cyberattacks.
– Harnessing the potential of technology and data to improve efficiency, quality, and competitiveness of tourism products and services.
– Fostering cooperation and partnerships among public and private actors at local, national, regional, and global levels to address common challenges and pursue common goals.

World Tourism Day is an occasion to celebrate the achievements of tourism and its contribution to social, economic, and environmental well-being. It is also an opportunity to raise awareness of the importance of tourism for sustainable development and to advocate for more and better-targeted investments for people, planet, and prosperity. (ZI)