Today World Tourism Day is celebrated, like every 27th September since 1980. “Tourism and the Digital Transformation” is the theme of this year’s World Tourism Day (WTD) and the importance of digital technologies in tourism, providing opportunities for innovation and preparing the sector for the future of work, is at the centre of World Tourism Day 2018, to be celebrated in Budapest, Hungary (27 September 2018).
We know that a digitally advanced tourism sector can improve entrepreneurship, inclusion, local community empowerment, and efficient resource management, amongst other important development objectives. This year’s WTD will help us to further explore the opportunities provided to tourism by technological advances including big data, artificial intelligence, and digital platforms.
In June 2018, in anticipation of WTD and to give visibility to innovative ideas capable of revolutionizing the way we travel and enjoy tourism, the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and Globalia launched the 1st UNWTO Tourism Startup Competition. The startups with the best projects will be announced as semi-finalists during the WTD official celebration in Budapest.
World Tourism Day is a unique opportunity to raise awareness on the potential contribution of digital technologies to sustainable tourism development while providing a platform for investment, partnerships, and collaboration towards a more responsible and inclusive tourism sector.
The objective of commemorating this day is to deepen the awareness of the international community regarding the relevance of tourism and its social, political, cultural and economic values. The date of World Tourism Day is especially appropriate because it corresponds to the end of the high tourist season of the northern hemisphere and to the beginning of that season in the southern hemisphere when tourism is a topical issue for thousands of people around the world.
History of World Tourism Day
The history of World Tourism Day dates back to September 27, 1970, when the first general assembly of the International Union of Official Tourism Organizations (UIOOT) took place, which precedes the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). This day the laws that set the guidelines to follow for the formation of the current World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) were established.
It is not until 1975 when the UNWTO is recognized as the International Organization governing the promotion of Tourism in the world. In that year the first general assembly of the UNWTO was held with headquarters in Madrid, Spain.
At its third meeting, held in Torremolinos (Spain) in September 1979, the General Assembly of the UNWTO decided to institute World Tourism Day from the year 1980.
A year later, in 1980, with the purpose of fostering the development of tourism and raising awareness among the community of the social, cultural, environmental and economic impact that the sector represents in the world, World Tourism Day is commemorated for the first time. It is assigned on September 27 because it is the day on which the statutes of the OMT were approved (in 1970).
Around the world tourism day, in a large number of countries, events, conferences, seminars, academic presentations, among others, are normally held under the motto that the UNWTO general assembly has previously declared. Similarly, official celebrations take place in a member state of the UNWTO.
World Tourism Day Slogan through the Years:
- 2018: “Tourism and Digital Transformation” with Headquarters in Budapest, Hungary.
- 2017: “Sustainable Tourism for Development” based in Qatar.
- 2016: “Tourism for all: promoting universal accessibility” based in Thailand.
- 2015: “One billion tourists, one billion opportunities” based in Burkina Faso.
- 2014: “Community development and tourism” based in Mexico.
- 2013: “Tourism and water: protecting our common future” based in the Maldives.
- 2012: “Tourism and energy sustainability: drivers of sustainable development” based in Spain.
- 2011: “Approach of cultures” based in Egypt.
- 2010: “Tourism and biodiversity” based in China.
- 2009: “Tourism: celebrating diversity” based in Ghana.
- 2008: “Tourism: response to the challenge of climate change” based in China.
- 2007: “Tourism opens doors to women” based in Sri Lanka.
- 2006: “Tourism is wealth” based in Portugal.
- 2005: “Travel and transport: from the imaginary of Jules Verne to the reality of the 21st century” based in Qatar.
- 2004: “Sports and tourism: two living forces for mutual understanding, culture, and development of societies” based in Malaysia.
- 2003: “Tourism: a driving force for poverty alleviation, job creation and social harmony” based in Algeria.
- 2002: “Ecotourism, the key to sustainable development” based in Costa Rica.
- 2001: “Tourism: a tool for peace and dialogue among civilizations” based in the Islamic Republic of Iran.
- 2000: “Technology and Nature: two challenges for tourism at the dawn of the 21st century” based in Germany.
- 1999: “Tourism: the preservation of world heritage for the new millennium” with headquarters in Chile.
- 1998: “Association of public and private sectors: the key to the development of tourism and promotion” based in Mexico.
- 1997: “Tourism as the main activity of the 21st century for the creation of employment and the protection of the environment.”
- 1996: “Tourism: a factor of tolerance and peace.”
- 1995: “OMT: to the world tourism service for twenty years.”
- 1994: “Quality personnel, quality tourism.”
- 1993: “The development of tourism and the protection of the environment: towards a lasting harmony.”
- 1992: “Tourism: a factor of increasing social and economic solidarity and the meeting between people.”
- 1991: “Communication, information, and education: tourist development lines.”
- 1990: “Tourism: an unrecognized industry, a service that needs to be liberated (Tourism Declaration in The Hague).
- 1989: “The free circulation of tourists creates the same world.”
- 1988: “Tourism: education for all.”
- 1987: “Tourism for development.”
- 1986: “Tourism: a vital force for world peace.”
- 1985: “Youth Tourism: a cultural and historical heritage for peace and friendship.”
- 1984: “Tourism for international understanding, peace, and cooperation.”
- 1983: “Travel and vacations are a right and a responsibility for all.”
- 1982: “Pride of travel: good guests and good hosts.”
- 1981: “Tourism and quality of life.”
- 1980: “The contribution of tourism to the conservation of cultural heritage, peace, and mutual understanding.”