World Tourism Day 2011 will be celebrated under the theme Tourism – Linking Cultures, an opportunity to highlight tourism’s role in bringing the cultures of the world together and promoting global understanding through travel (September 27, 2011).
“The message on this World Tourism Day is that, thanks to tourism, millions of people from different cultures are being brought together around the world like never before,” said UNWTO Secretary General, Taleb Rifai, “This interaction between people of different backgrounds and ways of life represents an enormous opportunity to advance tolerance, respect, and mutual understanding.”
In 2010, 940 million tourists traveled to a different country, coming into direct contact with tangible – art, monuments – and intangible – music, food, traditions – culture. World Tourism Day 2011 is a celebration of this unique interaction and aims at furthering understanding of the values of cultural diversity.
World Tourism Day 2011 will also draw attention to the importance of preserving and promoting the cultures of the world in all their forms. Culture, which compels millions of tourists to travel and spend, is of immense value in itself, but is also a vital tool for the development of a sustainable tourism sector. As such, it must be thoughtfully managed and protected, as set out in the Global Code of Ethics for Tourism which states that: “Tourism policies and activities should be conducted with respect for the artistic, archaeological, and cultural heritage, which they should protect and pass on to future generations.”
“Culture is one of our most precious assets and needs protecting. As we launch World Tourism Day 2011, I call on all people to conduct tourism in a way that preserves and enriches the cultural wealth of the world for future generations,” said Mr. Rifai.
ABOUT WORLD TOURISM DAY
World Tourism Day is celebrated annually on September 27. 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 UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and to highlight the contribution the tourism sector can make in reaching these goals.