Its time to rethink, says Balala as World marks Tourism Day
As the world celebrates Tourism Day three years after the Covid-19 pandemic struck, it is more clear the ways by which the sector contributes to the growth and development of a country.
Under the theme, Rethinking Tourism, the sector is committing to make radical changes in its energy consumption as well as take stock of the lessons learned through the pandemic.
Cabinet Secretary for Tourism and Wildlife, Najib Balala in a video shared on his social media accounts called on sector players and Kenyans in general to reimagine its role in the economy.
“We must be green. We must put people in the center and we must use technology and scale up the skills of our people,” he said.
He urged the sector to rethink the experiences they provide to customers.
“Travelers don’t travel because they don’t have better beds or homes, they are looking for experiences,” he added.
This year’s official World Tourism Day celebrations will be held in Bali, Indonesia, highlighting the shift towards tourism being recognized as a crucial pillar of development.
The event is organised by United Nations World Tourism Organization, UNWTO, and brings together industry players from around the world.
In an address at the event Secretary General UNWTO, Zurab Pololikashvili, called on all industry players to continue their efforts in making tourism a central driver of the green, the blue, and the digital economies.
“Rethinking one of the world’s major economic sectors will not be easy. But we are already well on the way. Crisis has inspired and catalized creativity. And the pandemic accelerated the transformation of work, bringing both challenges as well as enormous opportunities to ensure even more people get to benefit from tourism’s restart,” said Zurab.
UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres celebrated tourism as a great tool to foster inclusion, protect nature and promote cultural understanding. He also reiterated the need for the sector to embrace green energy.
“We must invest in clean and sustainable tourism, lowering the sector’s energy consumption, adopting zero-emission pathways, and protecting biodiversity. We must create decent jobs and ensure profits benefit the host country and local communities.