WASHINGTON, D.C.—Wednesday, September 27 marks the global celebration of World Tourism Day. Sanctioned by the United Nation’s World Tourism Organization and recognized for the first time by the Travel Industry Association (TIA), this annual event fosters awareness among the international community of the importance of travel and tourism and how this important industry touches us all.
Under the umbrella theme “Tourism Enriches,” World Tourism Day provides a platform for countries and communities worldwide to acknowledge the power of travel on all levels: social, cultural, political and economic. This year’s simple, straightforward theme speaks specifically to tourism’s contributions to individuals, families and communities—from enhanced national reputations to preservation of local heritage.
Roger Dow, president and c.e.o. of TIA, will join international tourism leaders in Lisbon, Portugal—the site of World Tourism Day’s official activities—on Sept. 27 to participate in proceedings relevant to the global travel economy.
In the United States, TIA is leading the effort to promote the value of travel on this special day and throughout the year, and the enrichment resulting from active programs that feature a region’s culture, heritage, lifestyle and attractions.
“Travel and tourism has an undeniable and direct impact on how visitors perceive the United States and the American people,” Dow says. “World Tourism Day underscores the value of this industry and the unique opportunity that it plays in promoting what’s great about our country for domestic and international travelers.”
Travel and tourism keeps the world economy on the move. According to the World Tourism Organization, it is No. 1 in world trade, is the largest export earner, employs millions of people, benefits the environment and local cultures, and develops infrastructure such as airports, roads and ports. In the United States, direct travel expenditures total $646 billion, with $103 billion created as tax revenue for local, state and federal governments. Nearly 7.5 million jobs are directly attributed to travel and tourism, according to TIA.