Every 27th September has been designated by the United Nations World Tourism Organisation [UNWTO} as the world tourism day. As usual, the pomps and pageantry that follow such a day remains but on a very low key due to the presence of covid-19 pandemic that is threatening the world.
Significantly, stakeholders in the the tourism sector in Nigeria are also part of the celebrations and theirs should be a kind of double celebratinon in the sense that a Nigerian, Ignitius Afigbi proposed to the then IOUTO now UNWTO’s leader, Dr. Rifai Taleb who did everything possible to ensure the day became a reality.
Within Africa and beyond, today will be seen as a very important day in human history because coivid-19 pandemic failed to halt one of the best human activities- movement and convergence,which are the bedrock of tourism.
This year’s theme “Tourism and rural development” is so adept for us in Africa looking at how best we can leverage on tourism to create enabling environment for the rural dwellers to partaker in the tourism agenda and not on-lookers.
Tourism has always played that pivotal role of development agent and the theme goes a long way at confirming how governments globally can help to create a better life for those in the rural areas by providing accessible roads,clean water, good education, shelter and all other basic and major needs within such communities.
As mentioned earlier, Africa should look at the best possible ways to take advantage of this by reaching out to those communities with that mindset of bringing about the sustainable development being exemplified by the United Nations Development Goals UNDGs.
As we celebrate today, its important for us to keep in mind that pandemic is still much around hence the need to observe all the necessary precautionary measures like the usage of face mask, watching of hands , social distancing etc.
Governments must also ensure that rural dwellers are adequately taken care of by ensuring that of needed materials are in place in order to keep our rural communities healthy, alive and sustaining.
Rural community development should be a great priority for any government because it serves as the food basket of most African countries. The rural areas across Africa supply our foods which sustain us, so places of such require adequate attention, to be protection and provisions.
This years world tourism day will go down in history as the year of awareness by tourism stakeholders and the regulating bodies from different countries going by the level of understanding, commitments and engagement so far. Happy celebration.