CEO of WTTC criticises government for not appreciating travel and tourism contribution

Published on : Thursday, September 11, 2014

wttcLack of recognition of the economic role of Travel & Tourism continues to hinder the sector’s growth potential and governments need to wake up and take action.




That is one of the messages from the CEO & President of the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) at the opening ceremony of WTTC’s 2014 Americas Summit in Peru.


In his opening speech at the regional Summit, being held in Lima (10-11 September), David Scowsill says bad decisions will continue to be made on visas, taxation and infrastructure development, unless government departments start recognising the importance of the sector and coordinate on policies.



Mr Scowsill says the case for giving Travel & Tourism more attention is unquestionable; “The financial contribution of our sector to the wellbeing of the global economy is both formidable and unarguable. The growth of our industry outstrips the growth of global GDP year after year. Yet governments continue to ignore this”.



Travel & Tourism in the Americas:


contributes US$2.1 trillion to GDP, supporting over 40 million jobs.

accounts for 6.8 per cent of exports and 4.9 percent of investment and is worth US$238 billion

is forecast to grow by 3.7 per cent per year over the next decade, creating 11 million new jobs.

directly employs three times more people than manufacturing, three times more people than the communications sector and higher education and 30% more than financial services.

Mr Scowsill says that the outlook for the Americas is seen clearly by many of today’s global business leaders to have enormous potential; “The region embraces the world’s largest Travel & Tourism economy, namely the USA. It gives us the most tourism dependent market of the Caribbean. It contains some of the world’s most exciting growth opportunities here in Latin America”.



The first Americas Regional Summit took place in Riviera Maya in Mexico in 2012. The joint declaration from the private and public sectors was taken by President Calderon of Mexico to the G20 meeting in Los Cabos, where he called upon the leaders to focus on the issue of visas and travel facilitation. He personally wrote to all of the heads of state to seek their support for the industry.




Mr Scowsill says that President Humala was one of the first Latin American leaders to receive the Open Letter from UNWTO and WTTC, joining the Global Leaders for Tourism Campaign; “At that occasion in 2012, he spoke passionately about the impact of tourism on the village of Cora Cora in Ayacucho, where he used to vacation as a young boy. He spoke of his desire to support this industry as a key pillar for Peru’s future economic development. 63 heads of state have joined this campaign over the past 3 years, including in June this year President Michelle Bachelet of Chile”.




However, he says the Travel & Tourism sector cannot find solutions on its own; “Whether partnership is between government and business; investors and beneficiaries; industry and environment; or technology and service providers; I firmly believe that partnership is key to everything we need to achieve”.



More than 300 Travel & Tourism leaders and government ministers, top executives from the public and private sectors, NGOs, opinion-formers from academia and the media have come together in Lima. Over the course of a day and a half, through a series of keynotes, panel sessions and interviews, they will discuss the most pressing questions facing Travel & Tourism in the Americas and to identify what needs to be done to ensure the long term sustainable future of the sector.



The Summit is called ‘Facing challenges, Finding Opportunities’. The sessions include ‘Governments and business: partnership and progress’; Financing for the future: strategies for investment’; ‘Appreciating the asset: the value of cultural heritage’ and ‘Sustainability: Leading by Example’.

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