This year might have been full of turmoils and unwarranted surprises, sitting at home amidst this lockdown, but it’s finally the time to unleash the traveller in you as you get to join the celebration of the World Tourism Day which is taking place on this September 27.
Designated as the ‘Year of Tourism and Rural Development’ by UNWTO, 2020’s thematic idea is to promote tourism as a sector for creating ample amount of jobs and opportunities as well as to uplift rural development.
Putting significant stress on the importance of preserving nature, and cultural heritage, it is an endeavour by UNWTO to encourage the common mass about understanding the values of the raw and rustic world, discarding excessive ‘urban migration.’
Marking its 40th anniversary this year, World Tourism Day had always tried to elucidate on the socio-cultural, political and economic value that travel and tourism serve as a sector to the world economy. And this time, albeit the rapid drop-down of the graph in the tourism sector amidst such a challenging period, choosing a theme of rural development, UNWTO has mentioned on its significance:
‘Tourism and Rural Development’ is more relevant than ever as the global tourism sector faces up to the COVID-19 pandemic. Tourism in rural areas offers important opportunities for recovery, making supporting rural communities facing the economic and social impacts of the pandemic is critical.’
Acknowledged as the ‘fastest-growing’ and ‘most resilient’ socio-economic sector, Travel and Tourism department has been catering job opportunities, employment and standing out as one of the most serious sectors from a socio-economic developmental perspective.
With the booming of modern technologies, where the world is within the grasp of one’s hand, the approaching digitised tourism is now a popularised form. UNWTO has grasped this very opportunity to utilise all the urban methodologies for the rural upliftment.
Understanding the importance of bringing back the rural upliftment, surveys have observed 80% of the world population slowly reaching the brim of poverty, stressing upon the fact, ‘living in rural environments, not cities,’ whereas only a matter of 68% gets to enjoy urban facilities.
Focusing on the rural-class economy UNWTO observes that with high skills and significant educational facilities, youth migration to other countries has left rural economy deprived of well-educated people and proper focus. With the notion of modernization, local heritage, local customs and the native faiths and beliefs are slowly disappearing beneath the soot of this industrial world.
With the focus on rural development this time, UNWTO has presented few motifs which are as follows:
“In many areas, economic returns from agriculture are diminishing. At the same time, traditional ways of life are under threat from climate change. Travellers’ demand for new experiences around nature, local culture and products, as well as community engagement, offer immense opportunities for economic revitalization. Yet creating new opportunities for jobs and economic activities in rural areas requires proper connectivity, investment, supporting the promotion and preservation of natural and cultural heritage, fostering digital transformation, developing adequate skills and products as well as strong public-public cooperation. The creation of value through tourism needs to be approached from an holistic perspective that engages all other sectors and activities in the tourism value chain National policies and programmes such as the ‘Magical Towns’ of Mexico are a good example of how rural communities can benefit from tourism. Promoting tourism in rural areas spreads the benefits of the sector but also helps reduce pressure on more visited locations in cities”
As an attempt to encourage people to participate in this all together, they have requested participation in this celebration, asking everyone to share a snap of their favourite rural destination.
The rural community is a very significant part of our world that needs more attention now than before. Despite the required skill and effort, beauty and enriched culture, proper attention is lacking, causing further poverty and loss of our very connection to our ancestral root. Implementing a powerful tool like travel and tourism to reach back to those people is indeed an outstanding feat and we hope for the best.