WORLD TOURISM DAY 27th September

Since 1980, the United National World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has celebrated World Tourism Day on the 27th September. The purpose of this day is to raise awareness on the role of tourism within the international community and to demonstrate how it affects social, cultural, political and economic values worldwide.  The event seeks to address global challenges outlined in the UN Millennium Development Goals and to highlight the contribution the tourism sector can make in attaining these goals.

In 1997, the UNWTO decided to designate a host country each year to partner in the celebration of World Tourism Day, with each year having a theme.

Victoria Falls

The theme for 2011 is ‘Tourism – linking cultures’ of the world through travel and the Egyptian city of Aswan will host the official WTD celebrations. UNWTO’s Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai says “It is most fitting that Egypt, home to some of the world’s most celebrated cultural heritage and a leading tourism destination, be the host country for the official celebrations of World Tourism Day 2011.  This year’s theme is a celebration of tourism’s role in linking together the cultures of the world through travel. With millions of people travelling the world each year, never before have so many people been to so many places, nor been so exposed to other cultures. This interaction between individuals and communities, and their diverse cultures, leads to tolerance, respect and mutual understanding – the building blocks for a more peaceful world.”

“WTD 2011 is a call to all those involved in tourism to act in a way that is conscious and respectful of culture, which promotes intercultural dialogue and ensures that local communities fully participate in, and benefit from, the development opportunities of tourism”


Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary-General states This year’s theme “World Tourism Day is an opportunity to reflect on the importance of tourism to global well-being.  As we travel, let us engage with other cultures and celebrate human diversity.  On this observance, let us recognize tourism as a force for a more tolerant, open and united world”.

Themes of World Tourism Day since the introduction of host countries have been:

▪    1998: Public-private sector partnership: the key to tourism development and promotion – Mexico

▪    1999: Tourism: preserving world heritage for the new millennium – Chile

▪    2000: Technology and nature: two challenges for tourism at the dawn of the twenty-first century – Germany

▪    2001: Tourism: a toll for peace and dialogue among civilizations – Iran

▪    2002: Ecotourism, the key to sustainable development – Costa Rica

▪    2003: Tourism: a driving force for poverty alleviation, job creation and social harmony – Algeria

▪    2004: Sport and tourism: two living forces for mutual understanding, culture and the development of societies – Malaysia

▪    2005: Travel and transport: from the imaginary of Jules Verne to the reality of the 21st century – Qatar

▪    2006: Tourism Enriches  – Portugal

▪    2007: Tourism opens doors for women – Sri Lanka

▪    2008: Tourism Responding to the Challenge of Climate Change and global warming – India

▪    2009: Tourism – Celebrating Diversity  – Africa

▪    2010: Tourism & Biodiversity – China

▪    2011: Tourism Linking Cultures – Egypt


Great Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe, a country full of rich and diverse culture is officially celebrating this years WTD in Masvingo, home to the Great Zimbabwe Monuments. The Great Zimbabwe Ruins, a World Heritage Site, is one of the most important archaeological sites in Africa, giving testimony to the lost civilisation of the Shona.


A great city existed here from the 11th century on, with over 10.000 inhabitants. Great Zimbabwe (“stone houses”) was a main regional trading center, its wealth associated with (Arab) gold trading. There were also trade links with East Africa (Kilwa), and fragments of Persian and Chinese pottery has been found at the site.

Arab and European travellers in the 16th century sent marvelling reports home about this place and its impressive stone walls. The site was abandoned in the 15th century (for Khami) because of a lack of food and firewood.


The ruins nowadays are spread out over three main areas: the Hill Ruins, the Great Enclosure and the Valley Ruins.


The objectives for 2011 WTD are:

To ensure tourism can be integrated with natural, cultural and human environment.

To consider the effects of tourism on the cultural heritage, traditional elements, activities and dynamics of each local community.

To ensure quality criteria both for the preservation of the tourist destination and for the capacity to satisfy tourists

To emphasize on that all options for development must serve effectively to improve the quality of life of all people and to influence the socio-cultural of each destination.

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