World Tourism Day is commemorated each year on 27 September, aimed at fostering awareness among the global community of its social, cultural, political and economic value and the contribution that the sector can make in reaching the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). “The economic relevance of tourism, representing up to 10% of the world’s gross domestic products (GDP) and employment, makes harnessing its full potential essential for the advancement of the SDGs,” the United Nations (UN) states.
This year’s theme is ‘Tourism and Jobs: a better future for all’, in line with the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) goals, the UN agency responsible for the promotion of a responsible, sustainable and universally accessible model. According to the UN, its role in job creation is often undervalued. This is despite the fact that “it generates 10% of world jobs and is included in Sustainable Development Goal 8 for its potential to create decent work.”
Tourism and the SDGs
As the UN reports, due to its cross-cutting nature and global reach, tourism can contribute directly or indirectly to the achievement of all 17 SDGs. In particular, it appears in the targets of Goal 8: Decent work and economic growth, Goal 12: Responsible consumption and production and Goal 14: Life below Water. “Achieving these goals requires a clear implementation framework with adequate funding and investment in technology, infrastructure, and human resources,” the organisation remarks.
Goal 8, focuses on promoting “sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all” and includes target 8.9: “by 2030, devise and implement policies to promote sustainable tourism that creates jobs and promotes local culture and products”. While Goal 12, aims at “ensuring sustainable Consumption and Production patterns”, including target 12.b: “Develop and implement tools to monitor sustainable development impacts for sustainable tourism which creates jobs, promotes local culture and products.” Finally, Goal 14 is focused on conserving and sustainably using the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development. It also includes target 14.7 stating that: “by 2030 increase the economic benefits of SIDS and LCDs from the sustainable use of marine resources, including through sustainable management of fisheries, aquaculture, and tourism.”
To achieve these targets, the UN calls to maximize tourism potential to create more and better jobs, especially for women and youth; reflect and incorporate ongoing advances in technology; and address the current mismatch between the skills that are taught and those that employers need.