World Tourism Day (WTD) is held annually on 27 September.
Its purpose is to foster awareness among the international community of the importance of tourism and its social, cultural, political and economic value. The event seeks to address global challenges outlined in the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and to highlight the contribution the tourism sector can make in reaching these goals.
Establishment of World Tourism Day
It was at its third session (Torremolinos, Spain, September 1979), that the UNWTO General Assembly decided to establish World Tourism Day, beginning in 1980. This date was chosen to coincide with an important milestone in world tourism: the anniversary of the adoption of the UNWTO Statutes on 27 September 1970.
The timing of World Tourism Day is particularly appropriate in that it comes at the end of the high season in the northern hemisphere and the beginning of the season in the southern hemisphere, when tourism is on the minds of millions of people worldwide.
World Tourism Day theme and official celebrations
WTD is celebrated by events around the themes selected by the UNWTO General Assembly, on the recommendation of the UNWTO Executive Council.
While UNWTO invites people of all ages and backgrounds to hold and take part in celebrations in their respective country or holiday destination, official WTD celebrations take place in a UNWTO Member State, on the basis of geographic rotation.
About World Tourism Day 2013
Tourism and Water: Protecting our Common Future
Tourism today is a trillion dollar sector involving the movement of over one billion tourists a year around the world and another five to six billion domestically.
In line with the 2013 United Nations International Year of Water Cooperation, the 2013 theme for World Tourism Day is Tourism and Water: Protecting our Common Future. As the most widely celebrated global day for tourism, it represents a unique opportunity to raise awareness of tourism’s role in water access and shine a spotlight on the sector’s contribution to a more sustainable water future.
Tourism has proven to provide environmentally sound solutions, as well as political and financial support, for the conservation and sustainable use of water sources. But more must be done. With a record one billion international tourists travelling in a single year in 2012, now is the time to commit to a more sustainable tourism sector in order to protect our common future.
This year's official celebrations will take place in the Maldives and include a Think Tank on the 2013 theme with the participation of top experts and policy makers in the field of tourism and water.