About the event
September 27 was established in 1980 as World Tourism Day by the UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO). The aim of the day is to raise awareness that tourism is vital to the international community and to show how it affects social, cultural, political and economic values worldwide. Over one in ten people on earth are employed in the tourism industry and it is therefore vital that the sector is reformed to reflect a more equitable, just and sustainable world.
How to approach it
Tourism is something that everyone enjoys, but it can be useful for students to think critically about the impact of the industry and how it can be improved. First, in order to capture your students attention begin a discussion about tourism. Ask your students to offer suggestions as to what tourism is. This could include suggestions such as sightseeing, going on holiday travelling regionally, nationally and abroad. Be mindful here that some students’ families may not be able to afford expensive holidays. For that reason encourage examples that are closer to home and more inclusive such as local days out or holidays in the UK.
Next, help students think through the people and processes required to make tourism happen. This will help students develop a basic understanding of economics and ‘systems thinking’. Examples of this are the service workers in restaurants and hotels, the transport workers, the luggage transporters, the souvenir makers, tour guides and the staff at sightseeing locations. Show that in order for us to go on a simple day out, we often rely on the hard work of hundreds of people.
After this you can consider the impact of tourism. Ask your class to suggest some positive and negative impacts all of the different kinds of people involved may feel. Some positives might be a stable livelihood or investment into your local area. Some negatives might be exploitative pay, pollution, overcrowding and large predatory companies.
Finally, ask: ‘given all that we’ve talked about, how can we help make tourism better?’. Good answers might include not flying to reduce pollution, having local holidays or staying in a hotel that pays staff well.
Tourism is a really important source of income for many communities and it can help to connect people around the world, but it can also cause problems like increased littering, habitat loss and pollution. Can you think of any more pros and cons of tourism? How can tourists travel responsibly?