|WTTC encourages Governments and the private sector to nurture Travel & Tourism as a 'Force for Good'.|
Monday, 12th May 2014
Source : World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC)
Governments and private sector companies must ensure the social and economic benefits of Travel & Tourism are spread across all destinations and communities across the world, says the President & CEO of the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC).
As the WTTC Global Summit in Hainan, China, starts (24-25 April 2014), David Scowsil of WTTC, the global authority on Travel & Tourism, has taken to the stage to urge the Industry and Governments to work together to make a positive difference; "Travel & Tourism has a unique power to be a force for good in a problematic and unpredictable world. Governments need Travel & Tourism to support the processes of nation building and disaster recovery. They need Travel & Tourism to provide bridges to increase international cooperation and to help foster greater understanding between societies".
However, Mr Scowsill says not all Governments take the economic and social benefits of the sector seriously yet; "Too many Governments around the world fail to acknowledge the vast potential of our industry. This leads to deficiencies like destructive border policies, exorbitant taxes and poor long-term infrastructure planning. All these prevent progress and growth. This needs to change".
Over the next two days, WTTC's 2014 Global Summit in Hainan, China, will explore 'Changing world, new perspectives" and examine the role of the industry as a force for good in the world with headline contributions from Jeffrey Katzenberg, Yao Ming, economist Dame DeAnne Julius as well as many other industry leaders. Public and private sector heads from outside and inside the industry and government ministers from all continents will attend the Summit to explore and challenge current received wisdoms and their relevance for the near future. They will define a new proposition that goes beyond the economic agenda, identifying how businesses can benefit from this new way of thinking.
The significance of Travel and Tourism as a 'Force for Good' has increasingly become recognised by some key world leaders. At last year's WTTC Global Summit in Abu Dhabi, Bill Clinton said "I have seen that peace works better than conflict and one of the best manifestations of this is in travel and tourism". This was echoed six months later at WTTC's Asia Summit by former British Prime Minister, Tony Blair: "Travel & Tourism is an industry which can genuinely help to bring about not only more commerce and prosperity but more peace, security and understanding".
As Mr Scowsill continues, the aim of the Summit will be to bring a greater understanding of the unique role which Travel and Tourism can play; "The Travel & Tourism sector helps to drive cultural understanding, mutual respect, diplomacy, economic development and peace-keeping. We are mindful of our responsibilities to protect the planet and its precious assets. We are proud to provide prosperity and jobs for millions. This is the power of Travel & Tourism and we need to harness that power to play our part in building a future that is sustainable and dependable".
Mr Scowsill also explains why the Summit has come to China this year; "During the past four years, the topic of China has been very much at the forefront of our discussions at our Global Summits. Like most industries, we have watched the impact of the Asia Miracle on our sector as China pursued its destiny of becoming the powerhouse of the world economy.
It is widely accepted that, in the next 10-15 years, China will overtake the United States to become not only the biggest Travel & Tourism contributor in the world… but, indeed, the biggest economy in the world. China's Travel & Tourism businesses support 65 million jobs, contribute 9% of China's GDP and the sector is forecast to grow at more than 7% each year for the next 10 years.
By the middle of the next decade, China's Travel & Tourism industry will employ over 90 million people – that will be one in every nine jobs in China. It does make China crucially important for our industry. But it also demonstrates the mutual dependency and importance of our industry to China. Therefore it is good timing that we return to China to continue our dialogue about the importance of Travel and Tourism to the Chinese Economy and to the Global Economy".
Some of the many big questions to be discussed in Hainan over the next two days include: Can we rely on middle class growth in Asia to drive our industry forward globally? Are the industry's perceptions of China still relevant in the face of China's phenomenal economic and social developments?
As Travel & Tourism increasingly has to compete with other industry sectors for natural and governmental resources, is the economic message the right one? What is the role of Travel & Tourism in the trade agenda? What is its role as a driver of peace, mutual understanding and security?