Thailand Hosts UNWTO World Tourism Day 2016
Thailand hosted World Tourism Day for the first time ever. The day is an event promoting world tourism by the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).
The Thai Prime Minister, Gen Prayut Chan-o Cha, presided over the official celebration at the Siam Kempinski Hotel on September 27, 2016. The theme is “Tourism for All – Promoting Universal Accessibility.”
Between mobility challenges as the world population ages and individuals with disabilities, whether physical, mental, or sensory, significant work exists to accommodate all travers. Some parts of the world are easily accessible. On the other hand, many areas have a lot of catching up. Regardless, there’s room for improvement everywhere.
The UNTWO is encouraging both governments and private industry to break the barriers down. Tourism is for everyone and we mean everyone. This includes the idea everyone is welcome. Ideally, there should be an understanding and tolerance for those different than us. Speakers addressed this re-inforcing the idea tourism can and should be for everyone, regardless of gender, sexuality, or country of origin.
Keynote Address – Tourism for All in The Global Context
Presenting the keynote address, the Prime Minister addressed an international audience. Gen Prayut addressed intentions, readiness, and potential as they relate to tourism development. At the same time, he reiterated the theme of Tourism for All.
“According to the World Health Organization, approximately more than 15% of the world population is people with disabilities – be it physical, mental or sensory disability. Moreover, the aging population is constantly and rapidly on the rise,” said Gen Prayut in his keynote address.
Gen Prayut continues, “Apart from the population with disabilities who need to be provided with equal rights and fundamental freedoms, there are also the elderly and persons with special needs, for example, infants, those with temporary disabilities, families with very young children and so forth. This presents a big challenge to the global travel industry to evolve new policies and practices, for the short term and the long term, to ensure equitable and accessible tourism for all.”
Additionally, Mrs. Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul, Minister of Tourism and Sports, Thailand, spoke of the connection between travel and tourism leading to peace and unity. This is what happens when more people learn from each other through travel.
World Tourism Day 2016 Photography
The iTravel Channel TV covered the festivities and interviewed the key players. Watch our video for highlights, interviews, and more information about the UNWTO World Tourism Day.