In case you weren’t aware, today is World Tourism Day, and there are a number of travel companies recognising the annual occasion.
Celebrated each year on 27 September, World Tourism Day the global observance day fostering awareness of tourism’s social, cultural, political and economic value, and the contribution that the sector can make towards reaching the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.
With the COVID-19 pandemic having a massive social and economic impact, with marginalised groups and the most vulnerable have been hit hardest of all, the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has designated World Tourism Day 2021 to focus on ‘Tourism for Inclusive Growth’.
“This is an opportunity to look beyond tourism statistics and acknowledge that, behind every number, there is a person,” the organisation’s website states.
“UNWTO invites its member states, as well as non-members, sister UN agencies, businesses and individuals to celebrate tourism’s unique ability to ensure that nobody is left behind as the world begins to open up again and look to the future.”
The Travel Corporation (TTC) is recognising World Tourism Day by reaffirming its commitment to sustainability and meaningful travel.
“This year’s World Tourism Day theme is ‘Tourism for Inclusive Growth’ – an ethos that’s long been at the heart of TTC, as well as our not-for-profit organisation, the TreadRight Foundation,” said CEO Dave Hosking.
“As we look into the near future of resuming global travel, we’re committed to keep helping local communities benefit from our visits via our bespoke excursions and sustainability initiatives.”
TTC’s How We Tread Right strategy is a five-year sustainability plan focusing on 11 of the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Each of the company’s brands is now on track to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030, although Contiki will reach that milestone in 2022.
Along with supporting 55 sustainability projects across 26 countries, TTC’s plan also features Make Travel Matter experiences on every trip, inviting guests to get hands-on with projects at a grassroots level and to leave a lasting, positive impact on communities, wildlife and the environment.
“TTC’s Make Travel Matter experiences all advance the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, as they each support human rights, the environment and/or wildlife conservation,” Hosking said.
“For our guests, these excursions are often an unexpected highlight – they reveal a whole new perspective of the places we visit – and it always feels good to give back.”
In honour of World Tourism Day, Marriott International has identified what it believes are the three biggest trends in the hospitality industry:
1. The shift to greener travel has brought about new ways of thinking – Travellers are increasingly more concerned about their impact on the world, and there has been an increase in awareness of environmental and social issues.
2. It’s all about the human connection – The basics of hospitality continue to remain the bedrock of how the sector will emerge stronger from the pandemic.
3. Supporting local – Not just a trend, but an important undertaking for travellers who directly contribute to empowering the local economy.
Damian Perry, managing director and vice president of sales and marketing for the Asia-Pacific region at Hurtigruten, said the cruise line applauds this year’s focus for World Tourism Day, and appreciates the role tourism can play in recovery and growth in local communities.
“Hurtigruten constantly seeks out opportunities to work with local communities to craft authentic experiences, and have seen the positive impact in local communities along the coast of Norway as we relaunched sailings from Hamburg and now Dover, he said.
Perry said Hurtigruten was looking forward to a brighter future for travel, with booking numbers increasing, the release of exciting new destinations, community-focused itineraries and the launch of new, sustainable ships.
“We’re excited to see booking numbers increase over the past few weeks across a broad range of product,” he said.
“We are now seeing positive signs with strong bookings to Norway and our ‘Follow the Lights’ touring programs. We believe the future of travel is an exciting one, and despite the pandemic, we’re continuing to develop and deliver equally exciting travel experiences.
“We know that travellers are seeking new destinations, more sustainable ways to travel and unique itineraries that deliver authentic community experiences.”
Meanwhile, Sydney tourism operators have united in a show of solidarity to invite people to revel in #jola (aka the joy of looking ahead), as so many of the businesses prepare to reopen their doors.
The Sydney Visitor Collective, made up of tourism operators and attractions such as Sydney Opera House, BridgeClimb Sydney, Taronga Zoo Sydney and SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium, is channelling the #jola phenomenon (which was originally born out of the UK’s COVID-19 crisis and subsequent lockdowns) to inspire those of us in NSW and beyond to get excited about what’s ahead, in order to revitalise Sydney’s economy.
Sydneysiders and others from around Australia are being encouraged to show their love and support of the harbour city by booking ahead on Sydney.com to experience a local attraction, restaurant, cruise or accommodation in October, November and into summer.
They are also being encouraged to share their favourite Sydney travel images on social media using the hashtag #jola and #ilovesydney.
In case you weren’t aware, today is World Tourism Day, and there are a number of travel companies getting amongst the annual celebrations.
Featured image source: iStock/Panuwat Dangsungnoen