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World Tourism Day
27 September

Secretary-General Message for 2011

The theme of this year’s World Tourism Day, “Tourism – linking cultures”, highlights the powerful role of tourism in building international understanding and mutual respect.

There is no better way to learn about a new culture than to experience it first-hand. Tourism offers a wonderful connecting thread between visitor and host community. It promotes dialogue and interaction. Such contact between people of different backgrounds is the very foundation for tolerance. In a world struggling for peaceful coexistence, tourism can build bridges and contribute to peace.

Tourism’s contributions to development also advance the cause of global solidarity. At a time of profound global economic uncertainty, tourism’s ability to generate socio-economic opportunities and help reduce the gap between rich and poor, is more important than ever.

I encourage all involved in tourism to embrace the ten principles of the Global Code of Ethics for Tourism. These guidelines for sustainable and responsible tourism development, approved by the UN General Assembly in 2001, are based on the proven interaction between tourism and peace, human rights and understanding.

World Tourism Day is an opportunity to reflect on the importance of tourism to global well-being. As we travel, let us engage with other cultures and celebrate human diversity. On this observance, let us recognize tourism as a force for a more tolerant, open and united world.

Ban Ki-moon

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