Get your bulky cameras ready, unfold all the maps you’ve got, and make sure your fanny pack still fits snug, cause today is World Tourism Day, when we celebrate accessible tourism all over the planet. As a part of the United Nations ongoing days of celebration throughout the year, World Tourism Dayis the result of the work done by the UN’s specialized agency the World Tourism Organization. If you’ve ever strolled through a charming european old town, perfectly preserved as it was hundreds of years ago, there’s a good chance you’ve seen the WTO at work. If you’ve visited a beautiful natural landscape devoid of factories, you may have the WTO to thank for that. Bringing economic boosts and ensuring sustainable tourism are but a few of the benefits us tourists and the town’s we visit get through the WTO.So today, let’s consider just how important universal accessibility is, and raise awareness that it is far from normal in many countries. Those with disabilities, large families, low incomes or age related health issues should not be left without a way to experience our magnificent planet. By celebrating World Tourism Day, we’re working toward tourism for all, and doing so in a way that’s good for communities as well.
World Tourism Day Activities
1. Treat a normal day like a vacation
One of the simplest ways to celebrate today is to take a step back from your normal routine and consider: If I were on vacation in my hometown, what would I do? Where would a tourist go for the day? By checking out your own turf through the eyes of a tourist, you’ll support local businesses, and may even get a newfound zest for your boring little town.
2. Get the word out
The key to continuous improvement in global tourism is economic stability and sustainability. By doing a bit of research, you can educate yourself on the best ways to see a new country, city, or village in way that has the most positive impact on the destination itself. Raising awareness of this fact will be crucial for supporting sustainable and economically positive tourism in the decades to come.
3. Plan a trip
If you’ve been putting off going on that vacation, use World Tourism Day as an opportunity to make those plans. Talk to friends and family who perhaps have always wanted to travel, but never quite made it happen for one reason or another. Together, you can help and encourage each other, following the message of the WTO that tourism is for all.
Why We Love World Tourism Day
A. It creates jobs
All over the world, even in its most remote corners, tourism has become a dependable source of jobs. In the U.S. alone,the travel, tourism and hospitality industry supported 7.6 million jobs in 2015. This means one out of every 18 Americans is employed through the tourism sector. When done responsibly, tourism can create jobs in areas where unemployment has risen due to unavoidable factors like automation.
B. It’s a cash cow
In 2015, international tourism generated $1.5 trillion in export earnings. This can have a tremendous effect on small communities that haven’t seen the same kind of technological progress as further developed ones. Of course, developing a sustainable tourism ecosystem is paramount for ensuring these earnings are distributed among the community, but thanks to the work of the WTO, these areas are seeing smart tourism strategies put in place.
C. It creates a better world for all of us
Sure, the site of yet another lost tourist in your hometown may induce a small groan, but the reality is that traveling and seeing new places is good for our minds and good for our society. One study from the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that students who lived abroad were 20 percent more likely to be able to solve a given task than those who had stayed put their whole lives. Other studies have shown a link between those who travel and their overall trustworthiness in society. So, start planning your next trip!