World Tourism Day 2023 in Riyadh: Focus on green investments
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World Tourism Day 2023 celebrations in Riyadh: Emphasis on green investments

World Tourism Day 2023 celebrations in Riyadh: Emphasis on green investments

As the Global Day of Observance for tourism, it offers a chance to celebrate the sector’s vital role in advancing peace and prosperity

World Tourism Day 2023

World Tourism Day 2023 is being marked on September 27. The tourism sector is a vital component of most countries’ GDP and employs one in every ten people on Earth, according to the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).

Theme and significance

The theme for the global sector to come together this year is  “tourism and green investments.”

UNWTO has identified investments as one of the key priorities for tourism’s recovery and future growth and development. For World Tourism Day 2023, UNWTO highlights the need for more and better-targeted investments for people, for planet and for prosperity.

World Tourism Day 2023 will be a call to action to the international community, governments, multilateral financial institutions, development partners and private sector investors to unite around a new tourism investment strategy.

UNWTO‘s member states will mark the occasion in every region across the world through a range of special events and programmes.

UNWTO secretary-general Zurab Pololikashvili says, “Tourism has never been more important for our economies or for our societies. Its potential is enormous. And so on this World Tourism Day, we celebrate tourism’s ability to drive growth while also highlighting the vital need for investments to ensure such growth is inclusive and sustainable.”


World Tourism Day 2023 is set to be the biggest celebration so far. UNWTO will welcome representatives from more than 100 of its member states, including more than 50 ministers of tourism. Joining them will be high-level representatives from tourism’s private sector, both from the Middle East region and globally in Riyadh.

Saudi Arabia will welcome delegates for the 43rd Edition of World Tourism Day 2023 celebrations as the host country. The kingdom has organised a conference that will look at the theme for this year. Additionally, delegates will participate in multiple conferences over two days.

The conversations will focus on the importance of:

  • Investment for People (by investing in education and skills),
  • For Planet (by investing in sustainable infrastructure and accelerating green transformation)
  • For Prosperity (by investing in innovation, technology and entrepreneurship).
  • In Riyadh, UNWTO will present its Global Tourism Investment Framework and hold a series of high-level panels focusing on the challenges and opportunities surrounding investment in tourism.

The official World Tourism Day celebrations will also see the winners of the inaugural UNWTO Women in Tech Startup Competition for the Middle East announced.

History of World Tourism Day

The first World Tourism Day was held in 1980. As the Global Day of Observance for tourism, it offers a chance to celebrate the sector’s vital role in advancing peace and prosperity and UNWTO’s global regions take turns in hosting the official celebrations, always around a timely and relevant theme.

The date of September 27 marks the day the Statutes of the Organization that became UNWTO were signed.

How tourism should invest to contribute to the SDGs

The possibilities of strategic investment for this triple dimension are immense:

  1. For the People by investing in education and skills: Looking ahead, the global tourism workforce will require millions of hospitality graduates annually between now and 2030 and a further 800,000 jobs a year will require specific vocational training. For these reasons, we need to invest in people, as they are the foundation of tourism so that all those who wish to be part of the sector have the same opportunities to access quality tourism training, anywhere in the world.
  2. For the Planet by investing in sustainable infrastructure and accelerating green transformation: Looking into the future, the need to reduce emissions provides an investment opportunity of $24.7 trillion in the green buildings sector of emerging market cities by 2030, in which hotels, resorts, and restaurants account for $1.5 trillion. In addition, tourism faces a lot more investment opportunities related to new solutions and technologies to decarbonize the sector as well as to ensure climate-resilient infrastructure through adaptation solutions.
  3. For Prosperity by investing in innovation, technology, and entrepreneurshi: Digitalisation and innovation programs are a strategic priority to support particularly young people and women, which are critical to upskill the tourism sector’s workforce. Moreover, the global need to increase investments in programs that support and incentivize entrepreneurship and generate opportunities for innovations is highly need it in the tourism sector.

Also read: DCT Abu Dhabi, Mubadala to invest Dhs50m in cultural industry

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