Every year, on 27 September, World Tourism Day is celebrated. This celebration brings with it a chance to emphasize tourism’s actual and potential contribution to sustainable development. Innovation and digital transformation is this year’s focus, with the official World Tourism Day celebration in Budapest, Hungary to explore the many benefits that technological advances can bring to the sector.
Promoting innovation, job creation and sustainability are key considerations for the 15th World Tourism Organization Awards. UNWTO invites submissions, open until 31 October 2018.
Qatar has become the most open country in the Middle East and the 8th most open in the world in terms of visa facilitation. The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) recently updated its visa openness rankings, confirming Qatar’s recent visa facilitation, based on different innovations such as an online platform, a transparent visa processing e-visas and a free 96-hour transit visa. The improvements are crucial to the continued promotion of tourism as a development vehicle and potential pillar of achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
UNWTO called for wine tourism to be made part of national tourism and rural development policies at the 3rd UNWTO Wine Tourism Conference in Chisinau, Republic of Moldova (6-7 September 2018). The two days of discussions engaged experts from 30 countries and addressed UNWTO’s priority of enhancing tourism’s socioeconomic benefits, looking at specific segments like wine tourism.
Urban tourism and its potential for more sustainable and inclusive cities will be the major focus of the 7th UNWTO Global Summit on Urban Tourism, 16-19 September 2018 Seoul, Republic of Korea. The Summit will suggest a vision on the rapidly-growing tourism segment, in the context of the Sustainable Development goals.
Qatar: UNWTO and the Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) are joining hands to develop and implement an exclusive Qatar Annual Tourism Experience Awards Programme. Launched on 28 August 2018, this project will recognize and highlight successful tourism experiences created for visitors for their entire end-to-end journey. The awards are scheduled to be presented in April 2019.
Botswana: UNWTO continues to provide technical assistance, reviewing the needs to prepare a Tourism Development Strategy for the country and updating the new corporate strategy of the Botswana Tourism Organization (BTO) for 2018-2020.
China: UNWTO and the Greater Tumen Initiative (GTI) signed a Memorandum of Understanding to advance cooperation and mutual interests around sustainable tourism development in the Tumen River Region. Consequently UNWTO attended the 7th North East Asia Tourism Forum in Hunchun, China (3-4 August 2018) to deliver training on marketing and promoting multi-destination tourism and discuss the integration of GTI in the UNWTO Silk Road Programme.The training for this event was sponsored by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH. GTI, consisting of China, Mongolia, Republic of Korea and the Russian Federation, focuses on developing transnational partnerships in areas of trade, investment and tourism.
Egypt: The Ministry of Tourism intends to update its Hotel Classification System. UNWTO has assisted in undertaking an exhaustive evaluation of the current status of quality standards and services in tourism accommodation establishments and has prepared recommendations for the updating of classification criteria, and improvements in the overall hotel classification system.
7th Global Summit on Urban Tourism (16-19 September 2018, Seoul, Republic of Korea)
2nd Ministerial Roundtable, 2018 Japan Tourism EXPO (20-23 September 2018, Tokyo, Japan)
Official Celebration of World Tourism Day 2018 – Tourism and the digital transformation (27 September 2018, Budapest, Hungary)
8th UNWTO International Meeting on Silk Road Tourism (10-12 October 2018, Thessaloniki, Greece)
UNWTO Conference on City Breaks: Creating Innovative Tourism Experiences (15-16 October 2018, Valladolid, Spain)
‘UNWTO Tourism Highlights 2018 Edition’ shows that international tourist arrivals reached a total of 1,323 million in 2017, some 84 million more than the previous year and a new record. The sector has now seen uninterrupted growth in arrivals for eight straight years. 2017’s growth was the highest since 2010, led by the regions of Europe and Africa, which received increases in arrivals of 8% and 9%, respectively.
Europe is the most visited region in the world and that its tourism sector still continues to grow. In 2017, both international tourist arrivals and receipts grew by 8%, on the back of a growing inbound tourism and the recovery of outbound demand in Russia.
The latest edition of the ‘UNWTO Tourism Highlights’, which offers both global and regional statistics, has singled out that 2017 was a record year on many key levels of the tourism sector.
Want to learn more about the record year? The full report is available on the UNWTO website: