On the occasion of this World Tourism Day 2022, on the theme "Rethinking Tourism", the International Social Tourism Organisation (ISTO) wishes to send a message to all organisations, companies, governments and individuals who, through their actions, contribute to putting people at the heart of tourism, a sector whose economic and socio-cultural importance is well established.
At a time when our societies are facing multiple crises leading to awareness and questioning on several levels, tourism must more than ever be designed, developed and promoted according to the needs and expectations of people, whether they are visitors, residents of host destinations or workers in the sector.
To put it in other words and referring to the United Nations Agenda 2030 with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the social dimension of sustainability in tourism must now take its rightful place alongside the economic and environmental dimensions.
This will be the main theme of the next ISTO World Congress to be held in the Azores from 12 to 15 October: Social sustainability: a key driver for the future of tourism. On the occasion of this event organised with the INATEL Foundation and the support of the Regional Government of the Azores and Turismo de Portugal, the policies, programmes and practices of a variety of actors and experts will be put forward to see how, in concrete terms, it is possible to better develop tourism that is inclusive, accessible, fair and responsible.
With the changes we are experiencing, it is clear that the principles and practices put forward by ISTO and its network of members and partners are increasingly taken up by other major players in tourism. We can only be delighted! However, once this is said, we must look at the reality on the ground and say that there is still a lot to be done to allow greater equality of access to holidays, improve the conditions of tourism workers and ensure real economic, environmental and social progress for the populations living in tourist destinations.
Rethinking tourism? Yes, but in the long term and in relation to the needs of the young and not so young, of families, of immigrant populations fleeing too many conflicts and of people with specific difficulties and needs. Yes, but by ensuring that this tourism can contribute to improving people's well-being and quality of life. Yes, finally, so that this tourism of today and tomorrow is once again promoted as a factor of mutual understanding and peace. An overused formula? Yes, but more valid than ever…
Happy World Tourism Day 2022!