The United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) sets aside September 27 every year to celebrate it as Tourism Day.
The Day heralds the socio-economic, political, and cultural importance of the Sector to national and international economies through Gross Domestic Product growth, jobs, and employment creation.
The official “International” World Tourism Day is held in a World Tourism Organisation (WTO) designated country with participation from the rest of the world. This year’s (2021) Day will be held in Cote d’Ivoire in Africa on the theme, “Tourism for Inclusive Growth” to essentially highlight a participatory approach to creating and sharing tourism wealth for poverty reduction, decency in living standards, and livelihoods security.
As the United Nations specialized agency responsible for sustainable tourism, the UNWTO is guiding the global sector toward inclusive recovery and growth as well as ensuring appropriate governance among communities, minorities, and the youth.
The UNWTO, therefore, invites its Member States and Affiliates to celebrate tourism’s unique ability to ensure that nobody is left behind as the world begins to open again and looks to the future.
Dr Mohammed Ibrahim Awal, Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, said back home in Ghana, the Ministry in conjunction with the Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA), has planned a four-day activity to mark the Day and discuss the theme, to convey tourism’s role in ensuring inclusive growth for communities and national development.
He said the 2021 WTO Day Planning Committee had slated September 24 for holding the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) forum, which would bring together the public and private tourism sector stakeholders, relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), NGOs, and Development Partners, to interface and dialogue progress, achievements, and failures of the Tourism sector at Ho in the Volta region.
This, he said, was to proffer planning toward addressing the teething complications of tourism growth and development to support the creation of jobs and employment, and revenue mobilization for national development.
“There will be Radio/TV discussions in the regions, a Health Walk; an Afadjato Hiking Challenge, for which three winners will be declared and awarded; and Visits to Wli & Tagbo falls.”
The sector Minister said the grand Finale, which encapsulates fairs, exhibitions and WTO Day Durbar of chiefs, as a climax activity, on Monday, September 27 at Hohoe in the Volta region.
Mr Akwasi Agyeman, Chief Executive Officer, GTA, said the theme was linked to outcome four and five of Government’s Programme of Action that sought to create decent employment through inclusive economic growth, and a skilled and vibrant workforce to support an inclusive growth path.
He said this time around, the Day was aimed at creating an opportunity for the global tourism community to look beyond tourism statistics and acknowledged that, behind every number, there was a person.
“Un-locking the potential of the tourism eco-system, its extensive value chain and investments facilitation in tourism, can deliver more inclusive and sustainable growth in traditionally marginalized communities with huge tourism and other resources.”
Thus, expanding access to tourism education and delivering sector-specific training would give everybody the chance to benefit from tourism’s future growth.
Mr Agyeman said “inclusive growth seeks policies that allow people from different groups” ; gender, ethnicity, religion, and across sectors such as agriculture, manufacturing, and services to contribute to and benefit from economic growth and development.
“Through Tourism inclusive growth, global poverty and inequality levels between countries will drop, incentivizing a unique occasion to amplify the conversation about the sector’s role in recovery and growth as the pandemic had and continue to erode the gains made in job and employment creation. The celebration of the Day will influence and revolutionize the protection and rejuvenation of supply, re-ignite demand, and strengthen enabling ability to support the sector’s recovery.”
He noted that the impact of COVID-19 on tourism was expected to cost the global economy US$4 trillion while reducing drastically jobs and employment numbers, domestic and foreign tourists’ receipts, and revenue mobilization for GDP growth, and this situation had made the theme more critical and timelier than ever before since the gains of the past two decades in the travel and tourism enterprise had been eroded just within a spate of one year.
He said the tourism inclusive growth agenda would be relevant and meaningful through the recognition of domestic vaccination and recovery, domestic and regional tourism drive, and rethinking the future of Ghana’s tourism.
Mr Jones Aruna Nelson, Head of Corporate Affairs, GTA, said the global travel and tourism industry had been badly bruised, as gains made over the last two decades had been eroded. The Industry required a re-set and overhaul and demands innovation, technology application, and concerted efforts to turn it around.
“Ghana is desirous of complementing the international efforts of revival through many policy interventions, namely digitization of products and services, sites upgrades, promotion and marketing drives, and aggressive revitalization of Domestic and regional tourism.”