Qatar has won the right to host the official World Tourism Day (WTD) 2017 celebrations, which will be held under the theme, ‘Sustainable Tourism – a Tool for Development’. The announcement was made following a vote of the 21st UNWTO General Assembly, held in the Colombian city of Medellin.
Celebrated annually on 27 September, World Tourism Day is the biggest international event in tourism. Its purpose is to foster awareness among the global community of the importance of tourism and its social, cultural, political and economic value. The event, which is held in a different continent each year, seeks to address the global challenges outlined in the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and to highlight the tourism sector´s contribution to achieving them.
Speaking at the General Assembly Saif AlKuwari, QTA’s Director of International Cooperation said, “Qatar's tourism sector is among the fastest growing globally. Our National Tourism Sector Strategy outlines an ambitious path of development through 2030. We believe that holding the official World Tourism Day 2017 celebrations in Qatar will provide a timely opportunity to take stock of the sector’s achievements and provide us with a new catalyst for all that is yet to come.”
Mr. AlKuwari added that the 2017 WTD theme, ‘Sustainable Tourism - a Tool for Development’ mirrors the overarching message from this week’s UNWTO General Assembly, that tourism has the power to drive the growth of nations around the world and must be at the forefront of national development plans. “In Qatar 2017, we will create a series of events that will carry this message from us all, to the world,” he said.
Following the vote Dr. Taleb Rifai, Secretary General of UNWTO, spoke of the unique ability of tourism to spur development across socio-economic boundaries. “As a sector behind as many as one in eleven jobs worldwide, tourism is a valuable source of livelihood for millions of people. Built around the countless cross-cultural encounters happening every day in all corners of the world, tourism is also a gateway to greater understanding of the world beyond our borders, and the first step in building peace between communities and nations,” he commented.
Burkina Faso was previously selected to host WTD 2015 under the theme “One Billion Tourists, One Billion Opportunities”, whilst next year’s celebrations will be held in Thailand and will be centered around “Tourism for All - promoting universal accessibility”.
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