Today, September 27, is the United Nations World Tourism Day…so where are you going next? The United Nations and the powers-that-be of most destinations, the business world, the philanthropic and charity hemispheres, and hopefully each of us know, from personal experience, the veracity of that terrific Mark Twain quote: “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.”
Travel brings economic growth to regions that suffer without it, cultural awareness for both visitor and visited, and it more tightly knits our global community. Of course, travel must be done with respect and care, a keen focus on sustainability and cultural awareness, and a wide open heart. What you experience away from home is simply never going to be available to you if you remain close to your own hearth.
For the U.N. events, this year’s theme is: “Tourism—Linking Cultures.” Think about the ways you are an ambassador for your home (town/city/state/nation) when you travel. It is easy to feel, as tourists, going to all the official sites and eating at the touristy restaurants, that we are simply consumers when we travel, absorbing. In addition to being a sponge and trying to fit as many memories onto your camera’s memory card and into your brain, you are also a source of so much knowledge and information about the wider world, for the people you encounter (and it must be said, a source of super-important dollars being spent in the communities you visit as well). How will you show up the next time you travel? If you’ve had an itinerary on hold or vaguely planned, go back and get it onto your calendar. Commit to getting out into the wider arena of life.
The world is an amazing place—you should go there.