Every year since 1980, the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has celebrated World Tourism Day (WTD) on September 27. The statutes of the UNWTO were adopted on September 27, 1970 and therefore this date was chosen.
The purpose of celebrating WTD is to raise public awareness on the role of tourism and to demonstrate how tourism helps spread social, cultural, political and economic values worldwide and lead to more tolerance and appreciation of each other’s cultures, religions and habits.
At its 12 session in Istanbul, Turkey, in October 1997, the UNWTO General Assembly decided to designate a host country each year to act as the Organization’s partner in the celebration of World Tourism Day. It was also decided to accord a theme relevant to the time to each year’s celebration.
In 2017, the celebration of this World Day focuses on how sustainable tourism can contribute to development and it is in Doha (Qatar) today.
Sustainable tourism is defined as tourism that takes full account of its current and future economic, social and environmental impacts, addressing the needs of visitors, the industry, the environment and host communities. It should thus make optimal use of environmental resources, respect host communities and ensure viable, long-term economic operations so that benefits are equitably distributed among all stakeholders.