Businesses, organisations and tourists are celebrating World Tourism Day 2013. Co-ordinated by the UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), the theme for this year focuses on how water and tourism can protect our “common future”.
The 33rd annual edition of the event is set in the Maldives, for whom both tourism and water are essential to its survival. In terms of overall GDP, there is a distinctly high dependence on tourism as it accounts for more than 30%.
The Maldives could also be threatened by extreme flooding, resulting from the effects of climate change.
The UNWTO continues its focus on one of our planet’s most valuable natural resources, and the World Tourism Day theme ties in with the UN’s underlying theme for the year, as it is the United Nations International Year of Water Co-operation.
UNWTO secretary-general, Taleb Rifai, emphasised the importance of water for the tourism sector in the lead-up to today.
“As one of the largest economic sectors in the world, it is the responsibility of the tourism sector to take a leadership role and ensure companies and destinations invest in adequate water management throughout the value chain”, he said.
Rifai further noted how tourism can make a beneficial contribution to those involved in all stages of tourism operations, saying, “If managed sustainably, tourism can bring benefits to the national and local communities and support water preservation.”
Last month, at the 20th UNWTO General Assembly, it was announced that two emerging nations will play host to the next two World Tourism Days. In 2014, Mexico will host with the overarching theme of ‘Tourism and Community Development’, and Burkina Faso will host in 2015 with the theme of ‘One Billion Tourists, One Billion Opportunities’.
For a wider understanding of sustainable tourism, read Blue & Green Tomorrow’s Guide to Sustainable Tourism 2013. You can join in with the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #WTD2013.