On September 27, when tourism ministers from around the world and key stakeholders in travel and tourism gather in Bali to mark the World Tourism Day, the discussions will revolve around the burning issue of revival of tourism and how to rethink as the tourism industry rebuilds itself, almost from zero once again, having suffered from an unprecedented and crippling blow delivered by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) which organises the World Tourism Day says that it will highlight the opportunity to rethink how we do tourism. ‘‘As the world opens up again, we must learn the lessons of the pandemic and the associated pause in international travel. In exposing weaknesses, the crisis showed us where we can build more resilience. And in exposing inequalities, it also showed us where we can deliver more fairness,’’ says Zurab Pololikashvili, Secretary General of UNWTO.
‘‘This means putting people and planet first and bringing everyone from governments and businesses to local communities together around a shared vision for a more sustainable, inclusive and resilient sector,’’ he adds.
Indonesia is the host country for the World Tourism Day 2022 celebrations. Sandiaga Salahuddin Uno, Minister for Tourism and Creative Economy says the UNWTO celebration is a proud moment for Indonesia to show the global community to witness and experience the progress that it has made in Bali.
‘‘The tourism industry needs to be prepared for future challenges which requires collaboration and a sense of interconnectedness between one another.
First, stakeholders’ approach to the development of sustainable tourism sector. Second, strong role within the community as the agent of change in tourism transformation. And third, safety assurance for visitors during travel,’’ says Uno.
‘‘Let’s celebrate and form the future of tourism that is sustainable, stronger, more inclusive, and empowering for the planet we live in and the people who rely on it. Because even though tourism potential grows, the core has to be humanity. Thus, no matter how we navigate tourism in the future the end goal must be inclusivity for all people,’’ he adds.
India Outbound reached out to some destinations and tourism boards to ask them how they interpreted the theme for the World Tourism Day and what were they doing about it.
Nishant Kashikar, Country Manager- India & Gulf, Tourism Australia
Although the last few years have transformed the tourism industry, our love for travel and exploration remains unchanged. As people begin to venture beyond short haul destinations, countries like Australia have emerged as top contenders for travellers seeking a once-in-a-lifetime experience after the long pause on travel ushered in by the pandemic. To address this demand, we are constantly innovating and rethinking our approach and strategy to create and cultivate the most memorable holidays for travellers. This is reflected in our seamless and completely digital visa application process and through the plethora of uniquely Australian experiences that champion the best of the country’s nature, wildlife, cuisine as well as the friendly locals.
In line with the growing consumer interest in sustainable tourism by positively impacting the destinations they travel to, we are turning our focus towards fostering more sustainable and eco-friendly experiences. We are also channeling this interest to spotlight the extraordinary cultural experiences in Australia. From immersive tours with Indigenous guides who share their unique and special culture to dot painting workshops to a bush tucker walk, touring Australia through the lens of its indigenous culture is a fascinating experience for all ages.
India will be Tourism Australia’s fastest inbound market to bounce back to pre-Covid levels. In fact, we witnessed over 87,000 visitors from India to Australia in the period of April to June 2022 alone, which represents 83 pc of 2019 levels. With the onset of an exciting new year for travel, earmarked with highly anticipated events like the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup through which we are excited to welcome enthusiastic Indian travellers and cricket aficionados alike, we are gearing up for a much-awaited resurgence of tourism.
Bahruz Asgarov, Deputy Chief Operations Officer of Azerbaijan Tourism Board
Azerbaijan is blessed with abundance of natural resources, biodiversity, as well as cultural and historic heritage. Our strategy is to put protecting these resources and local communities at the forefront of tourism development, instead of creating anything artificially.
We are proud to say that over couple of years, Azerbaijan Tourism Board has developed number of sustainable travel experiences. Among them are hiking through the majestic Caucasus and remote mountain villages, birdwatching in national parks, developing homestays in regions, Slow Food Travel with the focus on protecting endemic products and honoring their producers.
Maryam Toorani, Director of Marketing and Promotion, Bahrain Tourism and Exhibitions Authority
The importance of tourism has never been more apparent as it regains its former grandeur after the last two years. Bahrain is a multi-cultural, multi-layered and multi-faceted destination in the Middle East catering to the avid Indian traveller. We at Bahrain Tourism & Exhibition Authority have been adapting and re-focusing on sustainable tourism. An initiative by Bahrain Tourism and Exhibition Authority (BTEA), the Bahrain Mangroves Tour is one of the ‘Must to Do’ things in Bahrain along with the Pearl Diving Experience.
We are also concentrating on game-changing initiatives like the new exhibition centre which is the largest in the region and other island improvements that will change the landscape and what we have to offer as a destination to travellers as tourism has changed across the globe.
Kathy Koyamaibole, Regional Director, Asia and Pacific Tourism Fiji
As tourism and the Fijian economy recover from the pandemic, there exists opportunity for positive, sustainable and inclusive growth. A core motivation for us at Tourism Fiji is the way tourism contributes to Fiji’s development with focus on Sustainability being a key strategic priority. Raising awareness amongst visitors on the sustainability measures is being undertaken in Fiji and highlighting the crucial role they can play in contributing to tourism’s sustainability are some of the on-ground efforts that are being currently undertaken.
Post-Covid, several developments and trends in global travel have emerged affecting the travel preferences of visitors. These trends point to a stronger initiative for developing safe, higher-value and unique products and services. We, along with our stakeholders are constantly engaging to further enhance experiences which will help Fiji gain more value for its tourism industry over time.
Republic of Korea
Young-geul Choi, Director, Korea Tourism Organization New Delhi
Sustainability is the need of the hour and we at KTO, understand its significance, especially in terms of tourism. Likewise, there are travellers nowadays who look for ways to reduce carbon emissions during the travel process and look for travel destinations which take that into consideration.
As a response, Korea Travel Organization has compiled a list of 125 safe travels destinations for travellers to enjoy a worry-free trip keeping the evolved safety and hygiene requirements of travellers in mind. The list consists of attractions recommended by regional travel authorities and reviewed by safety professionals and travel experts. We are working with our travel partners to market specially curated travel packages based on this list.
Thoyyib Mohamed, CEO & MD, MMPRC
Let me start by wishing a joyous World Tourism Day 2022 to everyone. For us in the Maldives, this year marks an especially auspicious occasion as we celebrate our golden jubilee of tourism. The theme for WTD 2022, Rethinking Tourism, is especially fitting as the past years have been so challenging. We in the tourism industry must take this time to re-strategise, start anew, and identify new and improved ways to move forward. For the Maldives, rethinking tourism is all about adapting – adapting to new hybrid technologies has been at the forefront of our activities.
We are finding new ways to sustainably promote our white powdery beaches, turquoise seas, and year-round sunshine to our visitors, both new and repeaters. Come visit the Sunny Side of Life, be part of our 50th year of tourism, and discover the unique sights, adventures, and experiences that makes the Maldives the World’s Leading Destination.
Luís Araújo, President, Turismo de Portugal
Sustainability is one of the pillars of the tourism of the future and an unavoidable purpose for tourism worldwide to create a better tomorrow.
In Portugal, we intend to affirm tourism as a hub for economic, social, and environmental development throughout the territory, positioning Portugal as one of the most competitive and sustainable tourist destinations in the world. To achieve that, was launched the “+ Sustainable Tourism 20-23 Plan” through which Turismo de Portugal takes on the responsibility of mobilising agents and society to promote sustainability in tourism in Portugal.
Khalid Jasim Al Midfa, Chairman, Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority (SCTDA)
The UNWTO wants to convey a message about how important tourism is and how vital the sector is for the world as it creates opportunities for people around the world. Many countries rely heavily on tourism and we witnessed the effects of that during pandemic.
Rethinking tourism is a very suitable topic this year because, after the pandemic, a lot has changed in terms of tourism, as people’s preferences have changed. People look for more outdoors. They look for more destinations, even destinations within their country they never thought of visiting but were forced to visit during the pandemic and they found out that they are really interesting.
Markets have changed for us at Sharjah and we had to be very dynamic and agile in finding these markets. The situation is different, so I think it is important to find new ways to promote and attract visitors from all around the world using technology such as artificial intelligence, metaverse and other tools. Using them is critical now because we have to be on the same page as to what the demands and preferences of the people are, and if you have that, you will succeed.
Neliswa Nkani, Hub Head – MEISEA, South African Tourism
The pandemic has definitely accelerated the future and has provided deeper perspective. It has forced us to evolve, to alter old methods, to upskill and reskill, to change the way we interact with people and the planet. But above all, it has caused us to rethink the way we approach and sell tourism, making this year’s theme extremely relevant!
At South African Tourism, we have become extremely digitised, while also managing to maintain the warmth of human interaction and intervention. We are taking conscious efforts towards promoting sustainable and rural tourism, in an effort to give back to the local communities, local economy and to preserve the resources we have been blessed with. We have also diversified the way we sell South Africa to appeal to the core passions of Indian travellers. With highly customised and personalised itineraries, we are looking at mobilising niche communities like biking groups, runners, and golfers.
We understand that affordability is key, as is building aspiration to travel with localised content that resonates and speaks the language of our audiences. Towards this end, we will be hosting Indian influencers to the destination this month to create ‘desi’ content that will have greater impact and recall with consumers across the country.
Thisum Jayasuriya, Chairman, Sri Lanka Convention Bureau
This year’s theme of ‘Rethinking Tourism’ is ideal to review Sri Lanka tourism strategies and identify different avenues and opportunities. Focusing on MICE tourism, Sri Lanka has widened the scope by diversifying travel offerings.
Sri Lanka is naturally blessed with picture-perfect scenery, hundred-plus waterfalls, tropical sunny weather, beaches, wildlife, birdlife, and literate friendly people.
Sri Lanka Convention Bureau warmly invites the global tourism trade to add Sri Lanka to their wish-list of group travel for meetings, Incentives, Conferences & Exhibitions, outbound training, yoga, Ayurveda and wellness, sports, adventure, film tourism, destination, weddings, honeymoons, and many more.
Geared to bring Sri Lanka to the forefront of MICE tourism, SLCB along with the MICE industry stakeholders are strategically planning to widen the horizons of MICE offerings to warmly welcome the South Asian and world-wide MICE events to Sri Lanka.