Sustainable Tourism - a Tool for Development

International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development 2017

World Tourism Day 2017

Are you a responsible travellerAs the United Nations General Assembly affirmed when announcing the adoption of 2017 as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, tourism can contribute to all the three dimensions of sustainable development – economic, social and environmental – and each of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Not only does the sector spearhead growth, it also improves the quality of people’s lives. It can bolster environmental protection, champion diverse cultural heritage, and strengthen peace in the world.

In this spirit, World Tourism Day 2017 presents a unique opportunity to raise awareness on the contribution of sustainable tourism to development among public and private sector decision-makers and the international community, while mobilizing all stakeholders to work together in making tourism a catalyst for positive change.

Join us in celebrating this special day! #WTD2017 #IY2017 #TravelEnjoyRespect #SDGs

Qatar is a country steeped in history, rich in culture and buoyed by global growth. Owing to the country’s rapid development, visitors have an opportunity to capture the beautiful contrast of past and future in a single frame; the country is home to high rises and modern technology parks, sitting side by side with majestic desert landscapes and 1,400 years of Islamic history. In addition to offering a wide range of authentic experiences, Qatar hosts close to 80 sporting events annually, and will be the first Middle Eastern country to host the 2019 World Athletics Championships, 2022 FIFA World Cup and the 2023 FINA World Swimming Championships.

In 2011, the country launched the Qatar National Vision 2030 to guide its plans for sustainable long-term development and economic diversification. In pursuit of this vision, tourism has been designated a priority sector by the country’s leaders. Tourism provides Qatar with the opportunity to find sustainable economic growth, while perpetuating and celebrating the nation’s cultural and natural gems.

In 2014, Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) launched the Qatar National Tourism Sector Strategy (QNTSS) 2030, which charts a pathway of sustainable development for the tourism sector through 2030. Since its launch, Qatar has welcomed over 9 million visitors, and achieved an average annual growth in arrivals of 6% between 2012 and 2016. The economic impact of the tourism sector in Qatar is becoming increasingly visible with 2015 estimates showing a total impact on Qatar’s total GDP of 4.3%.

On World Tourism Day 2017, a new chapter of QNTSS will be launched, taking Qatar into the next phase of its journey towards 2030.

Official Messages on World Tourism Day

International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development 2017

Message by Taleb Rifai, Secretary-General, World Tourism Organization (UNWTO)

“Sustainable Tourism – a Tool for Development”

Tourism is today the 3rd largest export industry in the world after chemicals and fuels. It brings hope, prosperity and understanding to so many lives and livelihoods all over the world. 

Last year alone, 1235 million travellers crossed international borders in one single year. By 2030, this 1.2 billion will become 1.8 billion.

The question, as we celebrate World Tourism Day 2017, is how we can enable this powerful global transformative force, these 1.8 billion opportunities, to contribute to make this world a better place and to advance sustainable development in all its 5 pillars:

1. Economic: yielding inclusive growth;

2. Social: bringing decent jobs and empowering communities;

3. Environmental: preserving and enriching the environment and addressing climate change;

4. Cultural: celebrating and preserving diversity, identity, and tangible and intangible culture, and

5. Peace: as an essential prerequisite for development and progress.

The UN General Assembly declared 2017 as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development. This is a unique opportunity for all of us to come together to promote the contribution of travel and tourism as a grand 21st century human activity, to build a better future for people, planet, peace and prosperity.

This World Tourism Day, whenever you travel, wherever you travel, remember to: 


You can be the change you want to see in the world.  

You can be an ambassador for a better future.


Happy World Tourism Day!

Message by Hassan Al Ibrahim, Acting Chairman, Qatar Tourism Authority

It gives me great pleasure to welcome you all to this year’s official World Tourism Day celebrations in Qatar on 27 September. This momentous occasion on the international tourism industry’s calendar bears double significance for Qatar, as it comes at a time when tourism in our country is experiencing exciting and monumental changes.

In recent years tourism has been recognised by our country’s leadership as a critical tool for sustainable development. In fact, tourism has been designated one of the five sectors that will drive economic diversification and ensure the country's long term sustainability.

The importance of supporting tourism has become ever clearer, and continues to crystallise today. While other sectors suffered setbacks from economic and security challenges in recent years, tourism remained resilient, including in the Middle East, growing by 3% in 2016. This has sent a strong signal to decision makers that tourism must be placed at the forefront of development plans in order to achieve sustainable, long-lasting growth that is safeguarded from turbulence in the world around us.

2017 has also been a critical year for Qatar’s pursuit of this sustainability. We have taken great strides to foster unprecedented long-term growth and shed a spotlight on tourism’s true potential. From cruise tourism to business events, Qatar has been diversifying its source markets, products and services. And all the while, we have been closely examining all the different elements that make up the tourism experience, and exploring how we can enhance them.

The result of this review process, which we conducted in collaboration with partners across Qatar’s public and private sectors, is a new chapter in Qatar’s national tourism sector strategy. And so there is no better time for us to host the official celebrations of World Tourism Day 2017 under the theme “Sustainable Tourism – A Tool for Development.” Not least because attendees of the celebration will be the first to witness the launch of the next chapter of our journey towards 2030, which brings into focus our vision for a tourism sector that is authentic, diverse, and accessible to visitors from all around the world.  

Mexico's Ministry of Tourism Message on World Tourism Day

On the 27th of September each year, the tourism industry around the world celebrates World Tourism Day and its mission to strengthen awareness among the public and business community of the importance of tourism. The United Nations declared 2017 to be the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development as a way to highlight the role of tourism in promoting and accelerating sustainable development, particularly poverty eradication and the conservation of the environment and cultural heritage in tourism destinations.

Statement on World Tourism Day by Yury Fedotov, Executive Director, UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC)

VIENNA, 27 September (UN Information Service) - Tourism's contribution to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is the theme of this year's World Tourism Day. The day offers a welcome opportunity to highlight tourism as a dynamic industry delivering development and growth and employing one in 11people globally.

Companies, in the tourism sector, also generate sustainable businesses, and through their supply chains, encourage transparency, good governance and greater accountability. There is no doubt that tourism can be a genuine force for good in a world of many challenges.


Message from The Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development 

On the annual occasion of World Tourism Day, celebrated every 27 September 2017, the Church joins civil society in addressing this phenomenon, in the conviction that every genuinely human activity must find its place in the hearts of Christ’s disciples. For the first time, this message is issued by the new Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, as part of its mission.

Remarks of President of Colombia, Juan Manuel Santos Calderón for World Tourism Day 2017

On behalf of the government of the State of Qatar, I would like to convey our sincere thanks to the UNWTO for giving us the opportunity to gather industry partners from across the world for WTD. Together we will celebrate our sector’s contribution to long term development and seek out ways to capitalise on the potential of ongoing tourism projects to achieve sustainability for our nations.