“Instead of each person watching out for their own good, watch out for what is better for others.”
– Philippians 2:4
Tourism is essential for economies around the world in both developed and developing countries. It is not only the local museums, hotels, and resorts that benefit from tourism, but also the numerous small businesses that provide a variety of services to visitors. Moreover, the entire population of a tourist destination benefits from the increased tax revenue generated by the economic activity caused by tourists.
To recognize the important role tourism plays in the economies of many countries, the United Nations designated September 27th as World Tourism Day.
Unfortunately, over the past two years, the COVID-19 pandemic had a massive negative impact on tourism around the world. Many developing and developed countries had to close their borders to tourists, and many simply did not feel safe to travel during this time.
As a result, between 2019 and 2020, there was a 65% drop in international tourism. The World Tourism Organization estimates that impact of COVID-19 on tourism will cost the world economy 4 trillion dollars. The severity of the economic impact caused the UN to describe this as “the biggest crisis in the history of tourism.”
Many local economies have been struggling due to lost profits from a lack of visitors. And as it often happens, the poorest communities suffered the most from the loss of additional income generated by tourists. But what’s making this crisis even worse is that populations of many developing countries are still largely unvaccinated. As a result, these are the areas that suffer the largest reductions in tourist arrivals.
A notion present throughout the Bible is helping thy neighbor, whether it be through big or small actions. And while each individual person does not have the power to restart the tourism economy, there is still something very important we can all do to help.
The biggest way that each of us can help our neighbors both at home and across the globe is to get the COVID-19 vaccine whenever it is available in our area. The Light of the World congregations around the world have been doing our part by making our temples available to serve as pop-up sites for vaccinations. On this World Tourism Day, let us to contribute to the recovery of domestic and international tourism by getting vaccinated.