5 Creative Strategies for World Tourism Day 2022

August 04, 2022
The back of a woman taking a picture of ruins on vacation.

This year, the United Nations World Tourism Organization celebrates its annual World Tourism Day 2022 on September 27 with a clear theme: Rethinking Tourism.

Destinations worldwide have been doing just that since the pandemic’s onset. The word “pivot” has never been so widely used since the infamous 1999 episode of Friends aired. As we move forward, however, destinations looking beyond recovery efforts to the future of travel must showcase how they are rethinking tourism.

Many things may return to how they were, but real change and innovative thinking are going to be the drivers that launch destinations into a more prosperous future. This World Tourism Day, look locally to the real changemakers and develop new initiatives to stimulate and celebrate the things happening in your destination that will benefit the travel industry overall. 

These five ideas should provide the  inspiration to get you started, using World Tourism Day 2022 as a launchpad.

1. Publish a Manifesto of Change

It’s easy to say we want to rethink tourism and be better, but what that really looks like remains elusive for many destinations. It’s time to put pen to paper – or text to a social media post – and outline what change your DMO truly envisions for your destination. 

Think of words like sustainability and inclusivity but then really hone in on what sort of change your team wants to see. Reach out to stakeholders and even the local community to uncover what may need to change and then make a commitment to address it. Having a clear, published commitment to what change you are seeking is an important step in the process.

2. Create Dialogues with Changemakers

An engaging way to highlight innovation and change in your destination will be through a series of dialogues with changemakers. Imagine an human rights activist, an urban farmer, a veteran turned artist, and a Black entrepreneur interviewing each other in short video clips about how your destination has made improvements to their particular niches – it will be innovative for sure. 

Engaging your local community to share their stories – as well as underscoring the work that remains to be done – is a powerful way to share the message that you are rethinking tourism actively this year.

3. Work with Local Schools

Students of all ages are the untapped potential that every destination can boast – so let’s start 

thinking about engaging them. Create an educational program between schools and your DMO to seek out ideas for change. Discover what young people think needs to be addressed and then solicit proposals to enact the change they crave. 

Sometimes seeing things through the eyes of a child is exactly what we all need to do better. Today’s students are the local stakeholders of tomorrow, so engage them early on to take part in your local community’s well being through the travel industry this World Tourism Day 2022.

4. Create a Local Travel Innovation Award

Celebrating changemakers through media coverage, but recognizing them formally is even better. Consider creating an honor or award to attribute to local travel industry workers who have enacted the sort of change you want to see. 

It doesn’t even have to be monetary – though that helps – but giving an added layer of visibility to innovators in the travel sector on a local level can help stimulate more engagement and out-of-the-box thinking. It’s a way to engage the community by showing stakeholders that you want them to succeed and bring new ideas forward this World Tourism Day 2022.

5. Partner Regionally for Change

Focusing on your local community is one thing, but there is also ample opportunity to engage with other local DMOs to create regional synergy. Align your wants and needs and make sure you are all working towards the same goals – or at least not impeding the goals of others. 

This sort of networking can lead to a regional taskforce for change to ensure that everything participating DMOs are doing benefits the greater good of local communities. If we’re rethinking tourism, we also need to rethink how destinations work together to achieve a stronger travel industry together.

Looking to get started with some World Tourism Day 2022 initiatives? DCI has been helping destinations enact change for more than 60 years, and this year is no different. Get in touch with Karyl Leigh Barnes at [email protected] to learn about how DCI can help you generate initiatives and programs to further change in your local travel industry.