Tuesday 27th September is World Tourism Day – a day when many organisations and bodies come together to promote tourism for all. This year the event is especially focused on improving accessibility to tourism especially for older people and the disabled, two groups who often find many obstacles standing between them and a perfect holiday.
So now would be a good time to reflect on why tourism is important; not just for the countries that we visit but also for our own benefit. In a world that is more connected than ever before – through social media, 24/7 news coverage and the internet that never sleeps – there are more reasons than ever to get out there and explore it for ourselves. Here are just three of them.
It can broaden your perspective on life
Even though we’re bombarded with news and information every day, it can still be all too easy to continue existing in our own little bubble where we take everything we are told as fact. By getting out in the world and experiencing first hand just a little of how others live and behave, it can help to give us a far wider perspective - not just on others’ lives but our own too. And in a world where empathy and understanding can sometimes seem to be in very short supply, who could argue that this isn’t a very good thing?
It can help develop skills you never realised you had
There’s no denying that some forms of travel can certainly be a challenge, particularly if you choose to just hire a car and head off to see what you can find. It could be hard to make yourself understood; the journey itself could be confusing, or you might have to settle for the kind of accommodation that would never be your first choice. But by meeting all these challenges and managing to overcome them you might even begin to surprise yourself with your capabilities. And that’s going to make any other hurdles you may face in the future even easier to get over.
It can make you a more interesting person
Someone once said that we’re made up of all of the experiences we’ve had. If that’s the case then experiencing foreign travel can’t but help to make us more interesting people to talk to and to know. Seeing more of the world gives us more to discuss with other people, and can also awaken interests that we may never have realised we had, and which can enrich our lives greatly. So forget the old cliché of boring the neighbours to sleep with our holiday photos, and look forward to them as unforgettable memories to share with the people around us.
So if World Tourism Day does anything we hope that it’s going to encourage people everywhere, regardless of circumstances, age or physical ability, to stop listing reasons not to travel and start planning where they’d really like to go. That would be a real achievement and one that would truly benefit the world.