Its purpose is to foster awareness among the international community of the importance of tourism and its social, cultural, political and economic value. The event seeks to address global challenges outlined in the United Nations Millennium Development Goals and to highlight the contribution the tourism industry can make in reaching these goals.
Every year, UNWTO invites all interested parties to take part on 27 September each year in the special celebrations taking place in their respective country or holiday destination.
World Tourism Day theme and official celebrations
World Tourism Day is celebrated with appropriate events on themes selected by the UNWTO General Assembly, on the recommendation of the UNWTO Executive Council.
The UNWTO Secretary-General issues a message each year to mark the occasion and chairs the official celebrations.
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, when tourism is of topical interest to hundreds of thousands of people worldwide.