The Uganda Tourism Board (UTB) has unleashed the programme for this year’s World Tourism Day, which is commemorated September 27th every year.
According to the tentative programme released by UTB, this year’s World Tourism Day celebration will be held between September 20 -27th and will involve a series of fun-filled activities at various tourist destinations across the country.
Running on the theme ‘Tourism and Rural Development’, UTB will hold this year’s official ceremony to mark the World Tourism Day in Fort Portal City, Kabarole District, with partners from Uganda Wildlife Authority, Uganda Wildlife Education Centre, Kampala Capital City Authority, among others.
“Celebrated on 27 September with the theme of “Tourism and Rural Development”, this year’s international day of observation comes at a critical moment, as countries around the world look to tourism to drive recovery, including in rural communities where the sector is a leading employer and economic pillar,” UTB wrote on social while announcing preparations for the biggest day in the tourism sector.
They added that; “In Uganda, this year’s celebration will be held in Fort Portal Tourism City and will be preceded by various activities starting September 20 – 27. Follow this event for updates.”
Since 1980, the United Nations World Tourism Organization has celebrated World Tourism Day as international observances on September 27.
This date was chosen as on that day in 1970, the Statutes of the UNWTO were adopted. The adoption of these Statutes is considered a milestone in global tourism.
The purpose of this day is to raise awareness on the role of tourism within the international community and to demonstrate how it affects social, cultural, political and economic values worldwide.
The theme of the day was “sustainable tourism”, in 2017. In 2018 the theme was “Tourism and the Digital Transformation” and in 2019 the theme was “Tourism and Jobs: a better future for all”.
At its Twelfth 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.
At its Fifteenth Session in Beijing, China, in October 2003, the Assembly decided the following geographic order to be followed for World Tourism Day celebrations: 2006 in Europe; 2007 in South Asia; 2008 in the Americas; 2009 in Africa and 2011 in the Middle East.
The late Ignatius Amaduwa Atigbi, a Nigerian national, was the one who proposed the idea of marking September 27 of every year as World Tourism Day. He was finally recognized for his contribution in 2009. The colour of World Tourism Day is Blue.
It should be noted that Tourism has been among the hardest hit of all sectors by the COVID-19 pandemic. No country hasn’t been affected. Restrictions on travel and a sudden drop in consumer demand have led to an unprecedented fall in international tourism numbers, which in turn have led to economic loss and the loss of jobs.
Women, youth, and workers in the informal economy are the most at risk from tourism sector job losses and business closures due to the pandemic. At the same time, the tourist destinations most reliant on tourism for jobs and economic growth are likely to be the hardest hit.
The tourism crisis is also a threat to wildlife conservation initiatives and to the protection of the world’s cultural heritage. The sudden fall in tourism revenues has cut off funding for biodiversity conservation. With livelihoods at risk in and around protected areas, cases of poaching and looting are also expected to rise. With 90% of World Heritages Sites closed as a result of the pandemic, humanity’s cultural heritage is at risk in all parts of the world.
On this World Tourism Day, the COVID-19 pandemic represents an opportunity to rethink the future of the tourism sector, including how it contributes to the sustainable development goals, through its social, cultural, political, and economic value.
According to the European Union, tourism can eventually help us move beyond the pandemic, by bringing people together and promoting solidarity and trust, which are crucial ingredients in advancing the global cooperation so urgently needed at this time.