World Tourism Day 2016

Today is the 37th World Tourism Day and this year’s theme is Promoting Universal Accessibility. World Tourism Day is sponsored by the United Nations World Tourism Organization and aims to foster awareness across the world of the importance of tourism and its social, cultural, political and economic value. The celebration hopes to work towards reaching the Sustainable Development Goals set aside by the UN.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says “Accessibility is both an important market opportunity and central to responsible and sustainable tourism policies and business development strategies. I encourage policy makers, destination planners and companies working with people with special needs to work together to remove all barriers, mental and physical, to travel.  On this World Tourism Day, let us recognize that all people can and should be able to participate in tourism and enjoy unforgettable travel experiences.”

Tourism For All - Promoting Universal Accessibility World Tourism Day 27 September 2016
World Tourism Day 27 September 2016

The official celebrations will be held in Bangkok, Thailand. The U.S. will be holding celebratory events over the next two weeks. On September 30, Visit Orlando and the University of Central Florida’s Rosen College of Hospitality Management will partner together to offer a job shadow program. More than 75 students will participate. From October 3-5, Black Hills State University, South Dakota, will hold several events that seek to promote global awareness in disability and universal access in travel. Events range from a Tourism and Hospitality Expo to a photo competition and exhibition.

The National Park Service and Brand USA will also be holding a Twitter Q&A on accessibility, tourism and national parks, and more, at 11am EST. The chat will be hosted by Brand USA on the handle @VisitTheUSA and with the Hashtags #tourism4all #WTD2016

The finalists of the Embassy’s National Parks Contest have also been revealed – more details here.