World Tourism Day has always been a chance to come together and celebrate the many and varied accomplishments of our sector. For the best part of four decades, we celebrated tourism’s unparalleled growth – in size, in reach and in significance.
In 2022, we once again recognize the opportunities that tourism has brought – and continues to bring – people everywhere. However, this year especially we also recognize that we cannot go back to the old ways of working. We must Rethink Tourism.
As the world opens up again, we must learn the lessons of the pandemic and the associated pause in international travel. In exposing weaknesses, the crisis showed us where we can build more resilience. And in exposing inequalities, it also showed us where we can deliver more fairness.
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, along with its 17 Sustainable Development Goals, remains our end goal. However, every part of the sector must rethink how we get there. It’s up to the those at the base of tourism’s broad and diverse pyramid, including tourism workers and small businesses and destinations themselves, to take the initiative and lead the way forward. And at the same time, international organizations, UNWTO included, governments and local authorities, must support the sector through its transformation, empowering the grassroots and making sure everyone has a say as we build for a better future. Tourism has always worked for young people, for women and for communities. But now it must truly work with them as well. We need new voices as well as new ideas if we are to transform our sector and build a better tourism for all.
Rethinking one of the world’s major economic sectors will not be easy. But we are already well on the way. Crisis has inspired and catalized creativity. And the pandemic accelerated the transformation of work, bringing both challenges as well as enormous opportunities to ensure even more people get to benefit from tourism’s restart. We are also making significant progress in making tourism a central driver of the the green, the blue and the digital economies, ensuring growth does not come at the expense of people or planet.
We are only just getting started. The potential of tourism is enormous, and we have a shared responsibility to make sure it is fully realized. On World Tourism Day 2022, UNWTO calls on everyone, from tourism workers to tourists themselves, as well as small businesses, large corporations and governments to reflect and rethink what we do and how we do it. The future of tourism starts today.