As the UNWTO’s World Tourism Day 2022 is upon us, it is easy to get distracted with the ‘are we there yet?’. Two years have passed in what feels like an instant, yet everything has changed. As tourism numbers steadily climb to pre-pandemic levels and more and more destinations fully open up to tourism once again, I reflect on this year’s theme for World Tourism Day: Rethinking Tourism.
For the last year and a half, I have spoken about the importance of Building Forward Better. Not the same, not back to how it was before, but better. We have been given a Masterclass by Mother Nature herself, allowing us time to reflect on the issues we were facing in travel and tourism such as over tourism and sustainability, with time and new focus to rethink and change the way we operate.
As Chair of Tourism Cares, the industry’s largest non-profit focused on sustainability, we work every day to unite the industry to make a positive, measurable change in social and environmental actions – all aligned to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
As an industry, we must rethink how we work together to help local economies, protect natural environments, and keep cultures and communities strong. We must rethink our offerings to travellers, providing our customers with ways of travel that contribute rather than dilute the destinations on their bucket lists. Finally, we must rethink our own travels, as we take off our industry hats and put on that of tourist. It is not enough for us to talk the talk as leaders in this industry, we must lead by example.
For this year’s World Tourism Day I have put together a call-to-action video message that I hope inspires you and your networks to rethink tourism as we build forward better together. On September 27th, and every day after, I invite you to join me, and Tourism Cares, in our efforts to create change, build forward better, and rethink tourism for a brighter, more sustainable, tomorrow.