• A universal pledge “Tourism Opens Minds” is a campaign to promote Lesser-known destinations that seeks to unite the tourism sector and encourage tourists to explore new destinations.
• With only 20% of tourists travel to unchartered territories, the campaign is a call to address over-tourism in more popular destinations.
• Tourism Opens Minds stands as a global initiative to bridge cultures and forge human connections.
4th October 2023, Dubai, UAE – On the occasion of World Tourism Day (WTD), the UNWTO revealed this week its global campaign, ‘Tourism Opens Minds’, in a universal pledge to address the challenges facing the tourism sector. This global initiative presents an opportunity to rediscover the way people travel and encourages tourists to venture into a wider range of destinations, to open their minds and hearts to places they haven’t previously imagined visiting.
According to a recent survey conducted by YouGov Research in September, it was found that while 67% of tourists prefer familiar destinations, 83% of respondents reported that exploring new places helped broaden their horizons and gain a better understanding of different cultures. The results also indicate that there are differences in travel preferences across regions, with 90% of Middle Eastern tourists saying familiarity with the destination is a major factor in their travel decision, compared to 62% of British tourists, 75% of French tourists, and 68% of Chinese tourists and 74% of Japanese tourists who prefer traveling to places they are less familiar with.
As a global call to invest in undiscovered destinations, Mr. Zurab Pololikashvili, Secretary-General of the UNWTO, launched the ‘Tourism Opens Minds’ initiative during the WTD conference taking place in Riyadh, in an announcement saying: “To ensure true global prosperity, we must work together to ensure that every country can harness the potential of a thriving tourism industry. The sector serves as a unifying force, fostering cultural understanding, strengthening bonds between societies, and championing environmental preservation.
His Excellency Ahmed Al-Khateeb, Minister of Tourism of Saudi Arabia, said: “Since embarking on our tourism journey, Saudi Arabia has been committed to enhancing the sector and generating an impact extends beyond borders.
Our contributions including pivotal partnerships such as the establishment of the UNWTO Middle East office in Riyadh, the creation of the Riyadh School for Travel and Hospitality and hosting record-breaking editions of the WTTC Global Forum and UNWTO World Tourism Day, underscore the immense potential of the sector when people from across the globe are united and connected.
The UNWTO ‘Tourism Opens Minds’ Initiative is another important milestone for the tourism sector, and its launch at World Tourism Day in Riyadh is a continuation of our many previous commitments to the global tourism sector.”
The universal pledge aims to support and encourage tourists to explore new horizons, enrich their travel experiences and diversify the industry. This will eventually result in creating a positive economic and social impact on local communities as it unlocks the true essence that tourism plays in bridging cultures and creating a truly inclusive world.
UNWTO member states, business leaders and tourism experts at the WTD conference hailed the announcement which was a testament to the industry’s commitment to connect people, cultures, business, and communities.
Leaders from across the global tourism sector have convened in Riyadh for this year’s UNWTO WTD, which was celebrated from 27th - 28th September. Through a range of impactful events, global ministers, industry leaders and experts have highlighted the power of tourism and uncovered avenues for collaboration to foster growth of the sector, placing people, the planet and prosperity at the helm.