Since 1980, the world has set aside September 27th as the day to celebrate all of the good things about tourism. It is known as World Tourism Day. This date was selected to honor the day in 1970 when the Statutes of the United Nations World Tourism Organization were first ratified.
It has long been known that the effects of worldwide tourism have an effect on the cultures of those visited and those doing the visiting. The 1970s saw the beginning of a worldwide phenomenon where everyday citizens around the world were able to come face to face and bond over those things that make us all human. Foods were shared, clothing compared, and culture was exchanged. This was an exchange that was unprecedented in the history of the world.
A Grand Need
Since this organization first began to celebrate World Tourism Day in 1980, it has selected an overarching theme to each year’s celebration. The last few years has seen some interesting themes. In 2012, we saw ‘Tourism and Energetic Sustainability’ in Gran Canaria. 2013 was ‘Tourism and Water: Protecting our Common Future’ in the Maldives. In 2014, we shall see ‘Tourism and Community Development’ in Guadalajara, Mexico. Each theme represents a current challenge that the tourism industry faces in order to thrive as a responsible and sustainable industry.
Small Countries, Big Challenges
In a small country such as Costa Rica, tourism has become a large part of its economy. It has helped the nation maintain its huge natural preserves without fear that the people of the land will not be able to sustain themselves or their families. In Costa Rica, tourism has built up tiny villages into thriving and healthy places to live, work and play. The influx of those curious to see this Hidden Gem of Central America has allowed the people of Costa Rica to thrive, without sacrificing the natural wonder of the land.
This year’s theme of community development is particularly apt for Costa Rica. Tourism has been building up communities in Costa Rica to serve this industry while preserving that which makes Costa Rica unique and beautiful. Without tourism over the last few decades, the people of Costa Rica may have led very different lives.