Tourism and Rural Development.
Tourism is one of the most important economic and social phenomena at global level and is undoubtedly a strategic motor for regional development. The COVID 19 crisis in particular has now shown that people have a keen interest in rural areas. This makes this year’s theme for World Tourism Day on Sunday 27 September: „Tourism and Rural Development“ all the more fitting.
“Broad sections of the population from industrialised countries are increasingly trying to escape the rhythm of everyday life,” explains Harald Pechlaner, head of the Center for Advanced Studies and scientific director of the South Tyrolean Observatory for Sustainable Tourism. The vastness, a high sense of security and the demand for sustainability in the natural environment are decisive factors in ensuring that rural areas are perceived as an alternative and that the demand for holidays increases. “People are again seeking more contact with the big issues of the world, and thus also with nature. Rural areas have a lot to offer in terms of sustainability, but monitoring remains a challenge, partly because of the lack of networking opportunities, and partly because digital infrastructures are often not yet in place,” Pechlaner emphasises.
In the epoch of Anthropocene, where humans have a significant impact on the Earth’s geology and ecology, the sustainability of our social-economic systems is the basic prerequisite for the long-term existence of mankind. Acknowledging the necessity of fundamental changes, the United Nations and its member states have been developing a framework for national action and global cooperation: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the respective 17 Sustainable Development Goals. With only 10 more years left to achieve these goals, the United Nations’ Secretary-General has raised a universal call to mobilise for a decade of global, local and people action. To achieve the goals of sustainable development, global issues must also be put on the local agenda. The newly established scientific conference series Global Mountain Sustainability Forum, initiated by the Center for Advanced Studies in cooperation with GLOMOS, the United Nations University UNU and the Sesto Tourist Board, is to be seen in this context. The first edition of the series will take place on 5 and 6 October in Sesto and online.
World Tourism Day has been celebrated by the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) every year since 1980 on 27 September. The date goes back to the ratification of the UNWTO statutes in 1970. World Tourism Day demonstrates the importance of tourism to the international community and its impact on social, cultural, political and economic values worldwide.
Photo: Sesto Tourism Board/Harald Wisthaler