The socio-economic inequalities that exist among people across the world can be bridged through the power and potential of tourism.
UNWTO Secretary General, Zurab Pololikashvili stated this while opening the global celebration of this year’s World Tourism Day in Abidjan, Cote d’lvoire on September 27.
“In tourism, like in almost every sector, it is easy to judge success by numbers alone. But behind every statistic, there is a story – a small business, a community, or an entrepreneur. Growth means nothing if it does not bring with it opportunity. And this is the true core of tourism. Our sector can help to bridge gaps of opportunity in many parts of the world.
“Across Africa, we see countless cases of young people being the first in their families to get an education or a job – thanks to tourism. We also see rural communities embracing tourism to generate opportunities and a future for their people. This is what Tourism for Inclusive Growth means,” he averred.
To this end, Pololikashvili is calling for increased political actions by governments. He maintained, “We need to go beyond words. We need political commitment and action. And we need economic commitment– to invest in people and places where it will make a real difference. Inclusivity also means that everyone who has a stake in tourism should also have a say in the sector’s future.
The event in Abidjan brought together a large spectrum of tourism players from all over the world representing various aspects of the value chain including, gastronomy, from sport, business, governments, and from destinations.
The Secretary General said, “I am also happy to see such a large ministerial representation, the highest on record for an official World Tourism Day celebration,” adding that “this is very encouraging and confirms that the need for inclusive policy is a shared priority for our sector.”
The 2021 World Tourism Day is under the theme “Tourism for Inclusive Growth.”