Happy World Tourism Day from Vanuatu Islands
The staff of the Vanuatu Tourism Office and vendors of the new Vanuatu Handicrafts Market wishing everyone a joyous World Tourism DayFacebook/ World Tourism Organization

With the purpose of fostering awareness among the international community on the importance of tourism, the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) established World Tourism Day (WTD) back in 1980 and has been celebrating it every year since then, on 27 September.

World Tourism Day is a global observance to highlight tourism's social, cultural, political and economic value.

The timing of the day is considered to be particularly auspicious, and it comes at the end of the high season in the northern hemisphere and the beginning of the season in the southern hemisphere, when tourism is generally flourishing worldwide.

While the UNWTO invites people of all ages and backgrounds to hold and take part in celebrations in their respective country or holiday destination, this year's official WTD celebrations will take place in Guadalajara, Mexico.

"Let us know how you will be celebrating, send us your best photos on this year's theme for the WTD Facebook album and join the #WTD2014 conversation on Twitter to share your thoughts and experiences with the global tourism community," posted United Nations World Tourism Organisation on their website.

The post has had an overwhelming response, with many sending nostalgic photographs from their travels for the WTD Facebook album.

The photograph below taken by Chanvirak Sarm, for example, was "taken at East Mebon temple, Siem Reap, Cambodia (2007). In this picture, the local people performed this ritual ceremony to for rain. They did it at a temple, which is known as a tourist spot in Angkor, the world heritage site in Siem Reap, Cambodia."

Cambodians perform ritual ceremony for rain
Cambodians perform ritual ceremony for rainFacebook/ World Tourism Organization

The entire world is excited about this year's WTD, which has the theme Tourism and Community Development - focusing on the ability of tourism to empower people and provide them with skills to achieve changes in their local communities.

Malaysia, for instance, is holding a three-day national level festivities to celebrate the day at the Mall of Medini in Nusajaya in Johor, The Star Online reported. The line-up at the venue includes interactive traditional games, cultural performances, exhibition of ancient manuscripts and a special display of the prehistoric Perak Man, along with a WTD2014 Treasure Hunt, which will take participants through the tourist attractions in and around Johor. 

The Malta Tourism authority has also created a whole host of events during September to mark World Tourism Day 2014, which began on 24 September, and will culminate on 27 September. The elaborate attractions include flower welcome at Malta International Airport for incoming passengers, AFM Band Display in St George's Square, concert by the Versatile Brass Ensemble, Artisan Fair in Bay Square, Ghana (Traditional Maltese folk singing and music) in Bormla, History and Mystery Guided Tours and so on.

The people of Tahiti are celebrating the International Tourism Day in a multi-day celebration, wherein patrons can enjoy traditional food, handicraft demonstrations, sports competitions and all kinds of shows.

In the Austral islands, for instance, they set up their island marae (a special site for official and public ceremonies) and have a flower-decked float contest.

In the Indian state of Rajasthan, the celebrations will begin with the revival of the popular programme "Music in the Park", wherein classical singer Parveen Sultana will perform at the Central Park on Saturday from 7 pm, reported The Times of India.

Besides musical performances, the department of archaeology is also organizing a 'Heritage Walk', along with a free entry to the monuments in the state under the department of archaeology and museums.

In Andhra Pradesh, although the venue of the state-wide WTD programme was shifted from Vizag to Vijayawada, the enthusiastic Vizag district tourism department has arranged for a series of cultural programmes, including orchestra, dances from Uttarandhra, Odisha and Sambalpur, magic show and folk theatre in venues across the city, The TOI reported.

Meanwhile, The Cape Town Diamond Museum, non-profit organisation dedicated in creating a new appreciation for diamonds in South Africa, offers a cultural contribution to society with a guided tour on the history of diamonds in South Africa. Their guided tour features a number of authentic artifacts from Africa's diamond mining history and would assuredly increase your interest in Cape Town's history and culture, notes Tourism Tattler.

This video posted on the World Tourism Day 2014 website speaks of some interesting Tourism Stories from UNWTO:

The official WTD 2014 Celebrations held at Guadalajara, Mexico can be live streamed in the World Tourism Day website. 

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