‘September 27 as a World Tourism Day’ was an idea of the late Ignatius Amaduwa Atigbi, a Nigerian national. It commemorates an important milestone in world tourism- the anniversary of the adoption of the United Nations’ World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Statutes on September 27, 1970. The date as decided by the UNWTO comes at the close of the high tourist season in the northern hemisphere and the onset of the tourist season in the southern hemisphere, when tourism is of topical interest to many people globally.

A key driver for socio-economic progress, tourism has bridged the social, cultural, political and economic gaps all over the globe. The UNWTO invites people worldwide to take part in World Tourism Day every year. Various tourism organizations celebrate the day with great pomp. Various competitions, such as photo competitions promoting tourism, etc. are held on this day. Other activities include free entries, discounts or special offers for the general public to any site of tourism interest. The tourism business representatives offer special tours or fares to promote both their region and World Tourism Day on or around September 27.

Each year has a different theme. The theme of 2016 is “Tourism for All – promoting universal accessibility”. It is about the right of all the people to experience the incredible diversity of our planet and the beauty of the world we dwell in.

Uttar Pradesh, the winner of Lonely Planet Magazine India Travel Awards 2016 as the “Best Cultural Destination in India”, aims to awake the people about the significant role of the tourism. The state has always participated in the event with fervour. It has exhibited enthusiastic efforts so as to enhance the tourism. For instance, Varanasi celebrated the day in an innovative manner by introducing ‘royal rickshaws’ under its initiative ‘Mr. Rickshaw Wala’. The initiative aimed to offer a memorable ride of the holy city to tourists as well as to provide employment to rickshaw pullers. Likewise, Lahori tongas had plied in Lucknow as a part of the tourism department’s tonga ride programme. A heritage walk on the world tourism day- hopping on a tonga and roaming around the city was the best way to relive Lucknow’s old-world charm.

Similarly, for the tourists an initiative of free entry to Taj Mahal was taken last year, followed by a considerable discount by the Agra hotels, restaurants and emporiums. Notably, the Uttar Pradesh tourism department has received a national award for innovatively using information technology to showcase the Taj Mahal. In fact the tourism bodies in U.P. acutely ensure that the tourists’ visit is a memorable one on World Tourism Day.