The annual World Tourism Day is being celebrated under the theme Tourism – Linking Cultures.
The event, organised by the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), is a celebration of tourism’s role in linking together the cultures of the world through travel.
“In a global environment marked by rising intolerance and cross-cultural tensions, often exacerbated by the economic divide between nations, tourism can foster spiritual and cultural respect among and between peoples, while creating economic opportunities to benefit disadvantaged populations,” said UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon.
Tourism is not merely an economic and commercial activity, but one of the world’s principal instruments for human interaction.
With a record 940 million international tourist arrivals in 2010, never before have so many people travelled so widely, nor come into contact with such a diverse range of 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.
Egypt, who is hosting this year’s WTD, is the cradle of one of the world’s earliest civilizations, providing the ideal setting to discuss the 2011 theme.
For thousands of years, successive cultures have travelled across Egypt, resulting in a vibrant and rich heritage that attracts millions of tourists. It is this process of coming together through travel that is at the very heart of the 2011 World Tourism Day celebrations.
World Tourism Day is celebrated annually on September 27th since 1980.
The timing of the day is particularly appropriate in that it comes at the end of the high season in the northern hemisphere and the beginning of the season in the southern hemisphere, when tourism is of topical interest to hundreds of thousands of people worldwide.