This year, World Tourism Day highlights the need for investment in disruptive digital technologies that can help foster an environment for innovation and entrepreneurship in tourism.

We live in an increasingly connected and interdependent world with digital advances transforming how we inform ourselves, transforming our behaviour, and encouraging innovation. We need not only new tools but also new capacities and ways of thinking. So across the United Nations family we are designing innovative projects, initiatives and partnerships.

The sheer size of global tourism and its impact on many other sectors, and all of the Sustainable Development Goals, puts it at the forefront of social responsibility, which today goes hand-in-hand with innovation on all levels.

Harnessing innovation and digital advances provides tourism with opportunities to improve inclusiveness, local community empowerment and efficient resource management, amongst other objectives within the wider sustainable development agenda. The digital transformation is about providing benefits to all, and we are making sure that tourism contributes to this global commitment.

Zurab Pololikashvili

SG Zurab Pololikashvili

UNWTO Secretary-General


The wide reach of tourism into many sectors, from infrastructure and energy to transport and sanitation, and its huge impact on job creation, make it a vital contributor to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. At the same time, tourism plays a pivotal role in advancing cultural understanding and bringing people together.

Yet tourism needs innovation in technology to realize its potential contributions. Its benefits need to flow to host communities. Governments can help to connect startups with investors to facilitate innovation, entrepreneurship, employment and a truly inclusive tourism sector.

Digital technologies have brought positive momentum to societies and economies around the world. They have connected us on a global level, helped to empower the most vulnerable and become our crucial allies for sustainable development. Our challenge is to continue harnessing this power for good while safeguarding against the risks.

On World Tourism Day, I call on governments to support digital technologies that can transform the way we travel, reduce the ecological burden of tourism and bring the benefits of tourism to all.

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António Gutierres

UNSG António Gutierres

UN Secretary-General


For me and for the whole Hungarian tourism industry it is a great honour that, on 27 September, Hungary and our wonderful capital, Budapest, will host events of World Tourism Day. We are especially happy to have the opportunity to show UNWTO the Hungarian hospitality and the development that has helped both Hungary and Budapest to increase their visibility on the tourism map of the world and allows us today to refer to Budapest as the ‘Spice of Europe.’

Travellers today wish to spend their time differently to the way they did in the past, seeking out experiences rather than just places, while digitalization has transformed the decision making processes of travel just as the opportunities for tourism marketing. That is why it is of great significance that the theme of World Tourism Day is ‘Tourism and the Digital Transformation’. We believe that the transformation of the world, alongside its challenges, also provides new opportunities and that the sector must put the changes and the accompanying trends and digital development to its own service. Every day now in all areas of our lives, tourism included, we see and use technologies of which, only a couple of decades ago, we could barely have dreamed.

The Hungarian Tourism Agency prepared its ‘National Tourism Development Strategy 2030’ document in the spirit of long term strategic thinking, to provide a yardstick for every participant in the sector over the coming decade and a half. Digitalization and sustainable tourism form outstandingly important parts of the Strategy, therefore we can be seen to be preparing for the challenges of the upcoming decades.

On behalf of the Hungarian Tourism Agency, I would like to express my gratitude to UNWTO for granting Hungary the opportunity to host this year’s World Tourism Day and that, in Budapest, arm-in-arm with the experts of the tourism profession, we will be able to highlight the challenges and opportunities of digital development.

Message in Hungarian

Zoltán Guller 

Zoltan Guller

CEO, Hungarian Tourism Agency

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