World Tourism Day is no more, at least not in Burkina Faso. This year Burkina Faso was awarded by the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) to be the official UNWTO venue for the celebration of World Tourism Day on September 27.
UNWTO Chief Communications and Publications Officer, Sandra Carvao, told eTN: “We have not issued any statement on the cancellation but have informed our Member States that considering the information available at the moment on the situation in Burkina Faso and the short timeframe to the forthcoming World Tourism Day, the Secretariat has communicated to the Executive Council meeting in Colombia that unfortunately it would not be possible to hold such celebrations Burkina Faso.”
The security situation in Burkina Faso is critical and according to the U.S. Embassy dangerous. Foreigners are currently fleeing the country – not a good place to enjoy tourism.
Elements of the Presidential Security Regiment (RSP) took control of the presidential palace during the weekly council of ministers meeting the afternoon of September 16, detaining President Kafando, Prime Minister Zida, and two additional members of the cabinet of ministers. President Kafando and others have since been released, but Kafando remains under house arrest. Prime Minister Zida remains in detention. Former special chief of staff responsible for the RSP General Gilbert Diendere was declared to be in charge of Burkina Faso following the establishment of a “Conseil national pour la democratie” (CND, the National Council for Democracy).
The security environment in Ouagadougou remains fluid. Gunfire continues to be reported in locations throughout Ouagadougou. Elements of the RSP have set road blocks and have engaged in crowd control measures. Civilians have also established roadblocks around the city. The level of activity on the street has diminished, and many businesses providing essential services—including food, gasoline and cooking fuel—remain closed. Local electricity and water utility providers have declared a strike, which could further decrease the level of services provided to residents. A nationwide curfew remains in place from 7:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m.
Outside of Ouagadougou, the security situation varies, but remains dynamic and susceptible to change at any moment. There have been reports of demonstrations in Bobo-Dioulasso, Gaoua, Fada N’Gourma, and Ouahigouya. Due to reports that roadways between major cities may be impassable, U.S. citizens in Burkina Faso may find that at times sheltering in place may be the only and best security option.
World Tourism Day (WTD) is held annually on 27 September.
Its purpose is to foster awareness among the international community of the importance of tourism and its social, cultural, political and economic value. The event seeks to address global challenges outlined in the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and to highlight the contribution the tourism sector can make in reaching these goals.
Establishment of World Tourism Day
It was at its third session (Torremolinos, Spain, September 1979), that the UNWTO General Assembly decided to establish World Tourism Day, beginning in 1980. This date was chosen to coincide with an important milestone in world tourism: the anniversary of the adoption of the UNWTO Statutes on 27 September 1970.
The timing of World Tourism Day is particularly appropriate in that 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 on the minds of millions of people worldwide.
WTD is celebrated by events around the themes selected by the UNWTO General Assembly, on the recommendation of the UNWTO Executive Council.
While UNWTO invites people of all ages and backgrounds to hold and take part in celebrations in their respective country or holiday destination, official WTD celebrations take place in a UNWTO Member State, on the basis of geographic rotation.