Happy World Tourism Day 2021!

A very Happy World Tourism Day to you! Masha Pabien (Which means many thanks in my native Papiamento) for your individual contributions that collectively help this industry move forward and recover. We all know that travel and tourism is a very important sector for the global economy and as it charges ahead it will lead the way towards inclusive growth. Today, the UNWTO invites everyone to acknowledge that behind every statistic is an actual person and that through tourism we can ensure equal, fair, and just opportunity for all as the world restarts and reopens to a different kind of traveling tourist.

Tourism for Inclusive Growth 

This year’s theme, Tourism for inclusive growth. Big words for a big day. Particularly, as we continue to forge forward from what will be documented in history books as the worst in global tourism history. There is nowhere else to go than up from here. Global tourisms’ rock bottom was 2020. That is a fact. A year later as tourism and hospitality industries around the world strive to build back better, we arrive here, on this day, to reflect and discuss tourism and what inclusive growth really means.

To begin, allow me to decipher some definitions for the word “inclusive growth”, after all,  it is the latest buzzword and #trending. There really is no true consensus on what is meant by “inclusive growth”. But for this writing, let’s try to define tourism for inclusive growth. Here we speak of a tourism-driven economic growth that is fairly shared across society and that creates opportunities for all, its impact contributing to the larger broader economy and enabling socio-economic development. Tourism creates jobs and drives prosperity for its communities having a significant social impact. This impact and economic growth results in wider gains and indirectly create a multitude of subset opportunities that spread across the entire ecosystem and supply chain, linking to other sectors. Tourism holistically is a catalyst for new opportunities. Prior to the pandemic, this industry was one of the most dynamic, diverse growing industries in the world. However, over the course of the past year the travel and hospitality sectors have been hit hard. Countries closed borders. Tourism halted. Global tourism job loss close to 20%. These losses felt across the entire travel and tourism ecosystem with various and numerous types of travel, tourism, hospitality, and other sub-sectors industry business affected; restaurants, transportation, and so much more,( there really are too many to list.)  So, now in a time of building back better, we all recognize the power tourism has for driving inclusive growth.  Because in some ways, it has been doing this all along. Now, as the sector pivots and adapts. rebuilding, it has a unique opportunity to rethink its global position on the world economic stage and increase the greater value and well-being of each person and individual behind every statistic, more broadly, sharing the prosperity for all. In these times, particularly for that 20%, but all the others as well who strive for equal, shared, and just opportunities through tourism, to grow ones’ own personal wellbeing.

How do we know that we are making progress towards tourism for inclusive growth?

Until next Time ~ Ayri

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