If you’re eyeing a career in tourism, then World Tourism Day is a perfect time to remind yourself of the scope, potential, and career options offered by this vibrant industry. Here’s all you need to know about this annual day, and its relevance to you.
Why should we celebrate World Tourism Day?
Every year on 27 September, the United Nation’s World Tourism Day recognises the massive global economic, social, political and cultural importance of the tourism industry. Tourism brings in worldwide revenue of US$1.26 trillion, accounts for 10% of all jobs and contributes an estimated 10% of the world’s GDP.
In South Africa, the industry is growing rapidly and is vital in terms of creating employment, protecting our wilderness areas and enhancing the reputation of our country. With its rapid growth and wide scope, ranging from small hotels to luxury game lodges, tour operators and multinational companies employing hundreds of people in a variety of fields, the tourism industry offers a treasure trove of career opportunities.
What is this year’s day about?
The UN’s World Tourism Organization has acknowledged that tourism has an important role to play in reaching the goals outlined in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, an agenda adopted by the UN’s 194 member countries, and which has the overarching aim of ending poverty.
This year’s theme is “Sustainable Tourism – a Tool for Development”, which focuses on how sustainable tourism can contribute to the development of countries. The UN defines sustainable tourism 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.”
Sustainable tourism is an ideal that all tourism industry stakeholders (including people who are pursuing a tourism career) need to be aware of to ensure that their actions have a positive, long-lasting impact.
As the UN points out: “Well-designed and well-managed tourism can make a significant contribution to the three dimensions of sustainable development —economic, social and environmental—, has close linkages to other sectors and can create decent jobs and generate trade opportunities.”
How can you celebrate World Tourism Day?
This year, World Tourism Day’s Official Celebration will take place in Doha, Qatar, and will be attended by world leaders and tourism experts. If you want an inside look at the important topics being addressed at the celebration, you can livestream the proceedings here.
Closer to home, September has been declared National Tourism Month, revolving around various celebrations of World Tourism Day throughout the month. Upcoming events include:
- The official South African celebration in Barberton, Mpumalanga on 27 September. Minister of Tourism Tokozile Xasa will be the keynote speaker, with discussions focusing on the country’s flagship attractions, excellence within the sector and various other tourism topics.
- The National Tourism Careers Expo from 28 – 30 September in Bloemfontein. The event will showcase exciting careers available in tourism and hospitality.
You can also get involved through the World Tourism Day Communication Kit, or by sharing your tourism experiences on social media with the hashtags #WTD2017, #IY2017, #TravelEnjoyRespect, #SDGs.
You can even become a tourist in your own city or town, visiting some of the landmarks that international visitors travel a long way to see. Everyone can play a role in recognising and promoting the huge importance of tourism to South Africa.
Dreaming of finding a job in the tourism sector? Start your journey with one of these tourism and hospitality courses from Oxbridge Academy.