World tourism Day

World tourism day

27 September was declared World Tourism Day by the United Nations in 1979. It is a day where the tourism industry worldwide celebrates the impact of the tourism sector on world economies as well as on improving the lives of people. Travel and Tourism represents some five percent of GDP of G20 countries and 27% of their services exports. This sector is more significant for the world's poorest countries where it is a mainstay of their economies, a key factor in employment and trade as well as a vital lifeline for their development.

At its Fifteenth Session in Beijing, China, in October of 2003, the Assembly decided the following geographic order to be followed for the World Tourism Day celebrations: 2006 in Europe; 2007 in South Asia; 2008 in the Americas, and 2009 in Africa.

South Africa today, celebrated World Tourism Day (WTD) in Kimberley in the Northern Cape under the theme, "Tourism: Celebrating Diversity". In her keynote address, Deputy Minister of Tourism, Ms Tokozile Xasa, said Tourism is a catalyst in driving the economic development globally and if managed well it will benefit communities and reduce poverty in line with national priorities.

Tourism is a major contributor to South Africa's gross domestic product (GDP). It contributes approximately eight percent of GDP and generates around one million jobs directly and indirectly. The economic slowdown has had a negative impact on our economy, but tourism has helped the country maintain the effects of the global recession. In 2008 South Africa held more than nine million visitors.

In Celebrating Diversity, provinces today showcased their different attractions and heritage sites through exhibitions. They included amongst others the Cradle of Human Kind from Gauteng and the Taung skull from North West.

The host province for the 2010 World Tourism Day celebrations is Limpopo.

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