The theme of this year’s World Tourism Day is, ‘Tourism and jobs, a better future for all.’ Given the booming worldwide travel industry, tourism now generates 10% of the world’s jobs or 313 million employees.

Tourism is increasingly a major source of growth, employment and income for many of the world’s countries, and is included in Sustainable Development Goal 8 for its potential to create decent work opportunities for people.

With over 1.4 billion people travelling internationally each year (a number which is expected to grow to 2 billion by 2030), and cultural tourism one of the largest and fastest-growing global tourism markets, it has become more important than ever that we work together to safeguard World Heritage.

World Tourism Day is an opportunity to reflect on the importance of protecting World Heritage and ensuring that tourism makes a positive contribution to the sustainable development of destinations and their local communities.

Since 2011, the UNESCO World Heritage and Sustainable Tourism Programme has provided an international framework for the cooperative and coordinated achievement of shared and sustainable outcomes related to tourism at World Heritage sites.

The UNESCO World Heritage and Sustainable Tourism Programme represents an approach based on dialogue and stakeholder cooperation where planning for tourism and heritage management is integrated at the destination level, natural and cultural values are protected and appropriate tourism is developed.

Recently, Seabourn, the world’s leading small ship cruise line, signed an agreement to extend its partnership with UNESCO in a unique alliance to help protect World Heritage. In collaboration with UNESCO, Seabourn seeks to help enable historic and cultural preservation projects around the world.

The five-year extension will continue to foster wider support and understanding in the travel industry and among travelers for UNESCO’s mission of identifying, safeguarding and promoting unique cultural and natural heritage around the world deemed to possess universal value for all humankind.

“We’re incredibly pleased to continue our relationship with UNESCO, building on the work we have completed together in recent years,” said Richard Meadows, president of Seabourn. “Together we share a common view that the preservation of cultural and historic sites around the world has lasting impact on travelers for generations to come.”

World Heritage and tourism stakeholders share responsibility for conservation of our common cultural and natural heritage of Outstanding Universal Value and for sustainable development through appropriate tourism management.

World Heritage sites are irreplaceable assets of humanity and belong to us all, but in order for us to ensure their protection to generate more potential jobs and for future generations to inherit them, we must leave no trace behind when visiting our sites. UNESCO encourages people to travel sustainably and use its World Heritage Journeys of the European Union platform and the Visit Buddha World Heritage platform, which have been developed in collaboration with National Geographic and supported by the European Union and Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) respectively.