September 27th, 2018 by OYO SEO

Travel is one of the biggest passions of mankind. The thrill of exploring the unknown is unmatched. The benefits of travelling are boundless. The excitement when you are all set to take off for a new city, country, or continent, is inexplicable. Some people just live for the joy of being on the move, constantly. But it’d be simplistic to think of travel and tourism as just about pleasure, leisure and pastime. Great explorers of the world have connected countries and people, charting new territories and establishing trade relations. Who knows what our country would have been like if Vasco Da Gama had never set sail for India? Or if Columbus had never accidentally discovered America? The urge to explore beyond boundaries has led to development and progress in more ways than one. Tourism today is one of the fastest growing and most important economic sectors in the world, benefiting destinations and communities worldwide. So much so, that a day has been dedicated to this industry, by the United Nations, to raise awareness about tourism and its benefits in the international community.

How it all began

The United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) is the agency which promotes responsible, sustainable and universally accessible tourism. September 27 was chosen as World Tourism Day in 1980, because it was on that day in 1970 that the Statutes of the UNWTO were adopted – a milestone in global tourism. Every year, the UNWTO invites people around the world to commemorate World Tourism Day and take part in celebrations.

A new theme every year

Since 1980, World Tourism Day has been celebrated with a specific theme every year. The slogan for 2017 was ‘Sustainable Tourism’. The year before, it was ‘Tourism for all – promoting universal accessibility’. Some years ago, the UNWTO also came up with the concept of a host country for the celebrations every year. This year, the UNWTO has partnered with Hungary to hold the official celebration of World Tourism Day 2018 in Budapest.

Tourism in the digital era

For 2018, the theme, quite understandably, is ‘Tourism and the Digital Transformation’. The way people and businesses consume and share information has completely changed because of digital advances. The UNWTO believes that it has “brought about a digital tourist that is more autonomous, hyper-connected and increasingly demanding, expecting personalized customer service.” The aim for WTD this year is to further explore the opportunities provided to tourism by technological advances. The UNWTO also launched the 1st Tourism Startup Competition this year, to give visibility to innovative ideas which can revolutionize the way people travel and enjoy tourism.

Top countries for tourists

While we are on the topic, let us also tell you about the top 10 countries that have seen the most tourist footfalls in the past year. As an ever-growing industry, international tourism shows no signs of slowing. According to the UNWTO’s 2018 Tourism Highlights Report, global tourist arrivals grew 6.8% in 2017. That’s 84 million more travelers than the previous year. The lion’s share of those travelers headed to the following countries:

  1. France: 86.9 million
  2. Spain: 81.8 million
  3. United States: 75.9 million
  4. China: 60.7 million
  5. Italy: 58.3 million
  6. Mexico: 39.3 million
  7. United Kingdom: 37.7 million
  8. Turkey: 37.6 million
  9. Germany: 37.5 million
  10. Thailand: 35.4 million

These countries must be doing something right to attract so many travelers in a year. Which one are you planning to check out next, digital tourist?