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World Tourism Day 2023: Focus on “Green Investment” through sustainable tourism

Kavita Sharma

World Tourism Day 2023: Having hit hardest by Covid 19 pandemic the travel industry has bounced back to its pre-covid times but not without adopting mandatory protocols of sustainability. The theme of World tourism day 2023, Tourism and Green Investments reflects how the wold is keen on adopting the hard earned lessons of life and sustainability during two years of pandemic. The theme focuses on the adopting new protocols where travel industry is not only sustainable but also contributes greatly in enhancing the environment.

Every year the United Nations World Travel Organization (UNWTO) selects a host country to create a unique theme for the event. This year Saudi Arabia is the host country and theme for World Tourism Day 2023 is “ Tourism and Green Investments”. It focuses on investments in environment friendly tourism projects.

The two-days (27-28sept) Tourism event started in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia with participation of around 500 government officials and tourism experts from 120 countries. According to UN Secretary Antonio Guterre, “tourism is a powerful force for progress and mutual understanding. But this force must be protected and nurtured to deliver its full benefits. On the World Tourism day we recognize the vital need for green investments to build a tourism sector that delivers for the people and the planet. So let us do more to harness the full potential of sustainable tourism because it is for betterment of future for all.”

Green Investments for a sustainable future

Tourism is one of the largest industries that contributes to the global economy. It provide jobs to millions of people around the world. The sector majorly suffered in 2020-21 of pandemic, the investment and especially foreign direct investment also dropped. But since then Global tourism is gradually bouncing back slowly. Experts believe that global tourism require more green investments for a sustainable future. The investments should not only be quantitative but qualitative with an factor of “green” in it. It is important to understand both the supplier and demand go together. One has to be a responsible tourist towards the environment. According to Prateek Hira, President and CEO of Tornos, Investment in tourism is not only economic pursuit but also a social welfare initiative. As it generates employment, empowers local communities, enhances lifestyle, protects culture and tradition, and above all tourism can mitigate environmental impacts.

There is a need to reduce emissions that will provide more investments in green building in hotels, resorts and restaurants.To ensure Climate resilient infrastructure through new adaptation methods. This will help in bridging the gap and achieve sustainable Development Goals in the developing world. UNCTAD and UNWTO have join hands to promote green investments in global tourism supporting low carbon and climate resilient tourism.

After Pandemic tourist have been exploring more sustainable vacation options than they had before pandemic. According to a survey in 2022 , 61% of the tourist revealed they are more conscious in travelling now. They want to visit the environment friendly places only. According to UN , a clean and effective transition to a sustainable future will create more jobs in the tourism industry, estimated to 10.5% more by 2030. World Tourism day serves to be platform to raise awareness of the importance of tourism. The World Tourism Day 2024 will be celebrated in Europe next year and the proposed theme is “Tourism and Peace”.

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