World Tourism Day

Lead Organiser: Association of Bhutanese Tour Operators (ABTO)
Partner Associations:
1. Hotels Association of Bhutan (HAB)
2. Guides Association of Bhutan (GAB)
3. Handicrafts Association of Bhutan (HaAB)
Technical Assistance:
1. Tourism Council of Bhutan (TCB)
2. Ministry of Agriculture and Forests (MoAF)


As per the decision of the 2nd Tourism Council meeting, Chaired by Hon’ble Prime Minister, the World Tourism Day on 27th September 2010 should be celebrated on a much bigger scale in order to advocate more awareness and reach. This is to be jointly organised by the tourism stakeholders in the private sector with ABTO taking the lead in organizing the event.
World Tourism Day is an international event, celebrated annually on 27th September, with the intention of creating awareness among the international community of the importance of tourism and its environment, cultural, economic, political and social values.
During the 3rd session of World Tourism Organization’s (WTO) General Assembly at Torremolinos, Spain, September 1979, it was determined to institute WORLD TOURISM DAY to be renowned on 27th September every year with the inauguration in the year 1980. This date was selected to agree with a significant milestone in the World Tourism: anniversary of espousal of WTO Statues on the 27th September 1970. 

The UNWTO believes that the date for World Tourism Day is appropriate because it comes at the end of the high tourist season in the northern hemisphere and the start of the tourist season in the southern hemisphere, when tourism is of topical interest to many people worldwide, particularly travelers and those working in the tourism sector.
Each year, the event seeks to address global challenges outlined by the United Nations and to highlight the contribution that the tourism industry can make in reaching these goals. Each year has a different theme and this year the theme is “Tourism & Biodiversity”.

This year’s theme provides an opportunity to create awareness of the importance of Biodiversity to Tourism and the role of sustainable tourism in the conservation of all forms of life in our ecosystem. It also gives us an opportunity to showcase that tourism activities need not necessarily threaten other species of life but rather complement their existence as the tourism activities depends on them.

Biodiversity is a key tourism asset and fundamental to its sustained growth. Intact and healthy ecosystems form the cornerstone of thousands of tourist enterprises and products worldwide, attracting hundreds of millions of tourists each year. As a leading economic activity, sustainable tourism has an important role and responsibility in managing and conserving biological natural resources. As a key source of income and employment, tourism often provides strong incentives to protect biodiversity. Sustainable tourism can furthermore generate significant revenues for conservation and community development and help to raise awareness of biodiversity issues.

It is necessary to foment the development of environmentally friendly local micro-enterprises and infrastructure for equitable use of these areas, which includes the local population that is otherwise excluded from the benefits generated by ‘all-inclusive’ tourism.

This Tourism and Biodiversity theme is particularly pertinent in 2010. Concerned by the continued loss of biological diversity, the United Nations Assembly declared 2010 the International Year of Biodiversity. The year coincides with the target adopted by governments in 2002, to achieve, by 2010, a significant reduction in the rate of biodiversity loss.

Hence, ABTO together with our partner associations viz. Hotel Association, Guide Association and Handicraft Association will be organising this international event here in Thimphu. Our effort will be further collaborated in terms of technical assistance by Tourism Council of Bhutan, Ministry of Agriculture & Forests (and relevant department and divisions such as Nature Recreation and Ecotourism Division, Nature Conservation Division, National Biodiversity Centre and Parks), Ministry of Home and Cultural Affairs and relevant organisations and agencies.

Besides creating awareness on tourism activities and its dependence on biodiversity, it is also our objective to educate all on Royal Government’s tourism policy, current tourism trends, opportunity in tourism industry, rules and procedures and courses offered by the tourism and hospitality training institutes.

Tentative Programme for the World Tourism Day – 27th September

Opening Ceremony

0930 – Arrival of Guest
0945 – Arrival of Hon’ble Chief Guest
0950 – Marchang
1000 – Welcome by President, ABTO/ Chairman of Committee of Tourism Associations (CTA); On behalf of ABTO, Hotel Association, Guides Association and Handicrafts Association)
1010 – Address by Hon’ble Chief Guest
1030 – Vote of Thanks
1040 – Unveiling of the Event and tour of the Booths
1115 – Refreshment

Closing Ceremony

1730 – Arrival of Guest
1745 – Arrival of Hon’ble Chief Guest
1750 – Closing Address
1800 – Broadcast of UNWTO – Secretary General’s Message
1810 – Award of Prizes and Certificates by Hon’ble Chief Guest
1845 – Vote of Thanks
1855 –
• Short Video Presentations
– Tourism by CTA
– Druk Air
– TCB Video Presentation
• Cultural Programme Presentation
• Refreshment

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