World Tourism Day
Long live travel!
Travel takes many forms: from backpacking to all-inclusive holidays and road trips to cruises. And more people are getting out there than ever before. This is partly because relaxation and exploration are increasingly valued in society but it is also because of the number of possibilities and niche options we see every single day in our interconnected world.
The travel and tourism industry is one of the largest in the world. According to the United Nations World Tourism Organization, it ‘is bigger than oil exports, food and cars.’ It is not a surprise then, that such an important industry has its very own international event: World Tourism Day.
The history of World Tourism Day
The United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) introduced World Tourism Day in 1980. Since then, it has been celebrated every year on 27 September. The date was chosen because it was the day when the UNWTO statues were ratified in 1970. World Tourism Day focuses on the impact of tourism on social, cultural, political and economic values around the world. Each year a new host country and a new theme are selected for World Tourism Day. The theme for 2018 was ‘digital transformation’, bringing into focus the relevance of digital technologies for tourism.
There are countless beautiful destinations in the world, some of which have yet to be discovered, but where attracted the most tourists in 2018? Which countries hosted the most holidaymakers? Which destinations made the ‘most popular’ list for 2018 is no shock – but the order they rank in might surprise you!
Tourists from all over the world have fallen in love with France's mediaeval towns, rural mountain villages and stunning Atlantic and Mediterranean coastlines. Approximately 93.6 million visits were made to France in 2018, putting this West European hotspot at the top of our list. And every year, around seven million people admire the metropolis from its most famous landmark, the Eiffel Tower.
Around 82.6 million tourists visited Spain in 2018, putting it in second place in our list of the most popular holiday destinations in the world. This one-time world power is now family holiday heaven and paradise for partygoers, not to mention Spain's rich culture and architecture. All in all Spain has a unique charm.
The USA comes in behind France and Spain in our list, proving it is a hugely attractive holiday destination. The country welcomed 82.2 million visitors in 2018, earning its place on our ‘most loved’ list. In terms of tourist spend, the Americans even come top according to studies from 2017.
Did you know?
The island nation of Tuvalu in the middle of the Pacific ocean was the least visited destination of the year, welcoming just 2,000 international tourists.
People have always travelled the world. Once upon a time, it was seafarers and researchers who discovered new destinations but today it is tourists from all over the world. This comes down to tour operators providing enticing options – and they are not the only ones. These days, the local population is getting in on the game with community marketplace Airbnb listing over 5 million accommodation options in 191 countries.
In other words, where previously only the privileged few could travel, it is now a normal part of life. And we are getting away more than ever. The statistics show huge growth rates in global tourism in recent decades. According to the UNWTO, in 2017 more than 1.3 billion journeys were made across borders in the name of tourism. In 1950, that figure stood at just 20 million.
Flying and driving are the most popular ways to travel to your holiday destination, with around 42 million flights being made worldwide in 2017. Sales in passenger air travel are expected to come in at US $590 billion for 2018.
As delightful and enticing as the holiday options of the 21st century are, the ever-growing tourism boom is putting strain on the environment. Protecting our planet has become a global challenge and the focus in tourism is shifting onto sustainability. CO2 emissions are rising to threatening levels and every day delivers a new mountain of food waste.
Many hotels, resorts and restaurants around the world struggle with the food waste that diners leave on their plates. As a manufacturer of premium warewashing technology, MEIKO has taken on the task of developing effective and sustainable solutions. MEIKO uses innovative and resource-efficient technology to help clients in the hotel and food service sectors to dispose of food waste in an eco-friendly way. All while saving water and energy, of course.
It goes without saying that reducing costs is important. But, alongside that, sustainability is a real focus for MEIKO and we know it is of growing importance for today's food service managers. We protect the environment by implementing sustainable ideas.
Should we consider holidaying in developing countries simply because it is possible? Is it a responsible and meaningful way to spend your holiday? This is a hotly debated issue – in academia and elsewhere. Studies show that tourism really does come with benefits for the local development.
Tourists spend millions of euro in emerging and developing countries every year. In economic terms, this is a contribution to the host country's economic clout, meaning that tourists help to drive the economy.
The local population benefits from employment opportunities and even from improved infrastructure, so long as the powers that be recognise its value to tourists. The same is true for food production and, of course, local crafts, which tourists from all over the world like to by as souvenirs.
We are convinced that travel-lovers can continue to travel with a clear conscience. After all, tourism is getting greener. More and more resorts and hotels are using sustainable, resource-efficient technology to protect our environment.
Already planning your next trip? Allow us to suggest some sustainable hotels:
Luxury, city and resort hotels can all apply a simple principle: a small change can make a big difference. An existing company can introduce sustainable processes step by step. These three hotels all have a focus on sustainable travel, allowing their guests to enjoy environmentally friendly holidays.