Today is September 27, also known as World Tourism Day. It’s a good day to reflect on the impact that travel and tourism is having on our state, country, and world.

World Tourism Day was started in 1980 by the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) with the purpose of raising awareness of tourism’s role within the international community and to demonstrate how it affects social, cultural, political and economic values worldwide.

“With almost 1.2 billion people traveling abroad each year, tourism has become a powerful economic sector,” Ban Ki-moon, United Nations Secretary-General, said in a statement, “a passport to prosperity and peace, and a transformative force improving millions of lives.”

Each year, World Tourism Day holds a different theme. This year’s theme is Tourism For All, which aims to promote universal accessibility.

“Accessibility for all should be at the center of tourism policies and business strategies not only as a human right, but also as a great market opportunity,” Taleb Rifai, UNWTO Secretary-General, said in a statement.

The World Travel and Tourism Council published their Economic Impact Report in March 2016. If you have a couple minutes, you should check it out. It will help you get an idea of how important Travel and Tourism is to the global economy.

Here are a couple highlights from the report.
– Travel and Tourism generated $7.2 trillion (9.8% of the global GDP) in 2015.
– Travel and tourism supported 283,578,000 jobs (directly and indirectly) in 2015 across the world. This equates to 1 in 11 jobs in the global economy.

“Accessibility is both an important market opportunity and central to responsible and sustainable tourism polices and business development strategies,” Ban Ki-moon said. “I encourage policy makers, destination planners and companies working with people with special needs to work together to remove all barriers, mental and physical, to travel.”

On this world Tourism Day, let us recognize that all people can and should be able to participate in tourism and enjoy unforgettable travel experiences.”