Since 1980, the United Nations World Tourism Organization has celebrated World Tourism Day as international observance on September 27. This date was chosen on that day in 1970.
The UNWTO (The World Tourism Organization), which promotes responsible, sustainable, and universally accessible tourism, stimulates economic growth and job creation has chosen ‘Tourism for Inclusive Growth’ as this year’s theme. As the tourism industry slowly bounces back amidst the lingering perils of the pandemic, registering economic growth, this theme is significant and apt.
Domestic tourism, which accounts for around 75 percent of the tourism economy in Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries, is expected to recover more quickly. It offers the main chance for driving recovery, particularly in countries, regions and cities where the sector supports many jobs and businesses.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Muhammed stated on Monday during the 44th edition of the United Nations Tourism Organization in Birnin Kebbi “The COVID-19 pandemic had a colossal social and economic impact on the world, and both developed and developing economies were not spared. Marginalized groups and the most vulnerable have been hit hardest of all. It is however envisioned that the restart of the sector will facilitate global recovery and growth that will be widely and fairly felt. For tourism to restart and to ensure that growth is inclusive, Member States of the UNWTO are encouraged to focus on certain priorities such as partnerships with key stakeholders and international organizations, as well as engage in advocacy to promote the role of tourism in inclusive growth.
“Apart from these priorities, however, there is the challenge posed to restarting tourism globally by ”vaccine nationalism”, which has heightened the inequality and inequity in the global vaccine distribution system.
“Today, rich countries can procure vaccines for their citizens through direct agreements with pharmaceutical companies; while low and middle-income countries are lagging, unable to act as speedily as rich countries in securing the number of vaccines they need or unable to afford to pay for any at all. Whereas some rich countries are already talking of third booster shots, many low and middle-income countries have not even given one shot to their citizens.
Added to this is the restriction placed on the citizens from certain countries by the rich nations. These restrictions, made possible by the use of ”vaccine passports”, as well as the low level of vaccination in the low and middle-income countries due to ‘vaccine nationalism’ that has seen the rich ones mop up available vaccines, are capable of thwarting the efforts to restart tourism. It is therefore imperative for the rich countries of the world to retrace their steps and embrace a collective and equitable global strategy. COVID-19 vaccine manufacturing, procurement, and distribution.
“They must also stop ineffective nationalistic disposition in COVID-19 responses. And COVID-19 response should be science-driven with experts in epidemiology, virology, and the social sciences (not politicians) taking the lead in devising and implementing science-based strategies to reduce the risks that the pandemic poses to the most vulnerable across the globe and to reduce transmission of this novel virus.”
Muhammed also explained that the opportunities in the tourism sector are enormous and it is the best sector that could create a large number of employment for citizens.
According to him, ” the tourism sector is not just a leading source of employment for the skilled, unskilled and semi-skilled, it also promotes territorial cohesion and socio-economic inclusion for the most vulnerable and helps communities to hold onto their unique natural and cultural heritage, support conservation, safeguard endangered species and keep traditions alive.
“Tourism is one of the most important pillars of the Sustainable Development Goals, particularly Goals 1, 5, 8 and 10 which deal with ‘No Poverty’, ‘Gender Equality’ ‘Decent Work and Economic Growth as well as ‘Reduced Inequalities. The role of tourism in inclusive growth is also demonstrated in the second principle of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals, with the pledge by the Member States to ‘Leave No one behind”.
Chairman, Akwa Ibom State Hotels Management and Tourism Board, Mr Ini Akpabio who gave the advice recently insisted that through WTD 2021 celebration under the theme: “Tourism for Inclusive Grrowth”, Nigeria will not only return the country to its former economic status but is cap le of surpassing the previous level of growth.
Going forward, people in Nigeria and other parts of the world need to recover from the negative economic effects of the pandemic using the WTD theme as a platform; he opined.
This year’s theme is inclusive tourism; which means inclusive growth and that everyone is involved.
Tourism is the act and process of spending time away from home in pursuit of recreation, relaxation, and pleasure while making use of the commercial provision of services.