World Tourism Day 2021 Theme: Tourism for Inclusive Growth

Bhubaneswar: World Tourism Day, celebrated each year on September 27, is the global observance day fostering awareness of tourism’s social, cultural, political and economic value and the contribution that the sector can make towards reaching the Sustainable Development Goals.

The date marks the anniversary of the adoption of the Statutes of the Organization in 1970, paving the way for the establishment of UNWTO five years later. World Tourism Day has been held on September 27 each year since 1980.

The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) is the United Nations agency responsible for the promotion of responsible, sustainable and universally accessible tourism.

It was at its third session (Torremolinos, Spain, September 1979), that the UNWTO General Assembly decided to institute World Tourism Day, commencing in the year 1980. This date was chosen to coincide with an important milestone in world tourism: the anniversary of the adoption of the UNWTO Statutes on 27 September 1970.

The timing of World Tourism Day is particularly appropriate in that it comes at the end of the high season in the northern hemisphere and the beginning of the season in the southern hemisphere.


The COVID-19 pandemic has had a massive social and economic impact. Both developed and developing economies have been hit. And marginalized groups and the most vulnerable have been hit hardest of all. The restart of tourism will help kickstart recovery and growth. It is essential that the benefits this will bring are enjoyed widely and fairly.

UNWTO has therefore designated World Tourism Day 2021 as a day to focus on Tourism for Inclusive Growth. This is an opportunity to look beyond tourism statistics and acknowledge that, behind every number, there is a person. UNWTO invites its Member States, as well as non-members, sister UN agencies, businesses and individuals to celebrate tourism’s unique ability to ensure that nobody is left behind as the world begins to open up again and look to the future.

Tourism’s Role in Inclusive Recovery

Tourism has a unique ability to make sure nobody is left behind, as recognized in the Year of Tourism for Inclusive Development and World Tourism Day 2021.

The sector is a recognized pillar of most – if not all – the Sustainable Development Goals, particularly Goals 1 (no poverty), 5 (gender equality), 8 (decent work and economic growth) and 10 (reduce inequalities).

UNWTO as the United Nations specialized agency for responsible and sustainable tourism, is guiding the global sector towards inclusive recovery and growth. UNWTO ensures every part of the sector has a say in its future – including communities, minorities, youth and those who would otherwise be at risk of being left behind.

For tourism’s restart and growth to be as inclusive as possible, UNWTO focuses on:

Partnerships: Tourism’s relevance has never been more relevant. Now is the time to grow the sector’s role in other parts of the development agenda. Embracing the UN Reform to strengthen UN support at country level, partnerships with sister UN agencies, including the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), International Labor Organization, the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and UN Women, as well as with international organizations, are key to ensuring the benefits that will come with tourism’s growth are felt outside of the sector itself and help advance wider progress.

Advocacy: Tourism’s importance is increasingly recognized at the highest political level. UNWTO works with governments to ensure domestic and international tourism is inclusive, taking into account the needs and goals of a diverse range of stakeholders, including those who may be left behind. World Tourism Day 2021 provides an opportunity for governments worldwide to promote tourism’s role in inclusive growth and identify how further progress can be made.

Looking to the Future: Unlocking the potential of the tourism ecosystem and broad value chain, and investments facilitation in tourism can deliver more inclusive and sustainable growth in new areas, including for traditionally-marginalized communities. Alongside this, expanding access to tourism education and delivering sector-specific training will give everybody the chance to benefit from tourism’s future growth.

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