Image courtesy World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO)

World Tourism Day is being observed this year today, Sunday 27 September 2020, with the over-arching theme being “Tourism and Rural Development”, as unveiled by the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).

As the world grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic, one of the grim realities being acknowledged on this day is the impact the pandemic has had on the global travel and tourism industry itself, and in particular, those rural communities around the world that depend heavily on tourism dollars.

A statement issued by Tourism Trinidad Limited (TTL), in observance of World Tourism Day 2020, notes that tourism makes a significant contribution to the global economy, and is a key driver of economic development in rural communities, in addition to being “a preserver and promoter of culture and heritage”.

The TTL release states: “Tourism is an important engine of economic growth in our rural communities and offers an avenue for sustainable livelihoods, especially among impoverished groups, women, and the youth. It provides opportunities, outside of the urban centres to include those communities that would otherwise be left behind.”

TTL reports that at present, it is heavily involved in the roll-out of an all-encompassing Public Health COVID-19 institutional strengthening and training series, geared for all tourism stakeholders, to equip them for business continuity, during these trying times of the pandemic.

The tourism body also says it is recognising World Tourism Day by “highlighting the economic value of tourism, the hidden treasures within our communities, and the work being done by our tourism partners in every corner to rebuild the industry, support community recovery, and spur job creation on our StayTnT digital platforms”.

In the TTL statement, Chief Executive Officer (Ag.) of Tourism Trinidad, Mrs. Heidi Alert, encourages citizens to fall in love with “our own backyard”.

“This year, citizens have a wonderful opportunity to learn more about their country, to fall in love once again with the beauty that surrounds us and support the local economy and tourism industry,” she states. “We have hotels, restaurants, operators, tour guides, transport providers and many supporting businesses that depend on tourism. It is important to remember these persons, our fellow citizens, and what they are currently facing.”

Mrs. Alert went on to add: “Our job presently at Tourism Trinidad is to remind people that there are many opportunities in our own backyard and surrounding communities that have places to visit, explore and experience the beauty and authenticity of where we live. We need now to stay at home to be safe, but Tourism Trinidad encourages citizens to join our digital platforms online and start making your bucket list.”

Image courtesy World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO)