WTTC issues wake-up call to private, public sectors of tourism at Global Summit

Posted: April 17, 2013 in travel & tourism

wttcFor World Travel & Tourism Council President and Chief Executive Officer, Mr.  David Scowsill, in his closing speech at the recently-concluded 13th WTTC Global Summit in Abu Dhabi: “The private and public sector must come together and focus on long term strategies, infrastructure and initiatives, not just short term goals, to ensure that our industry is ahead of the growth curve,” said

Scowsill explained that, by 2050, there will be 3 billion people enjoying middle-class wealth – meaning more middle-class consumers enjoying more travel, creating more jobs and generating more GDP. He said the growth opportunities ahead should be a wake-up call to the private and public sectors of travel and tourism to join together and plan sustainable, long-term strategies.

“The industry needs to work together to drive investment in infrastructure, which is conducive to sustainable growth, not just now, but for the next 10, 25, even 50 years to ensure that travel and tourism continues to make a vital economic contribution to global GDP and jobs and that the new wave of middle class consumers from emerging markets can cross borders with ease.”

By 2023, WTTC forecasts that travel and tourism’s total economic contribution will account for 10% of global GDP, US$10.5 trillion and one in 10 jobs. Total travel and tourism employment is forecast to add over 70 million jobs over the next decade, with two-thirds of those additional jobs in Asia. Asia will continue to lead growth of the industry, with annual average growth of over 6 per cent.

Scowsill also explained that lobbying governments to stop seeing tourists as a soft target for generating treasury cash would remain a key central strategic priority over the next year. “WTTC will develop finance models over the next 12 months which will demonstrate, country by country, the negative economic impact on travel and tourism of punitive taxation on travellers,” he said. “This data will be used to show government leaders, that taxing the tourist does not lead to positive economic growth – in fact, it leads to the opposite.”

Scowsill also said that visa facilitation would very much remain on its agenda for the next year. “Too many people still find it too complex and too difficult to cross borders as international tourists,” he said. “Governments need to balance security needs with a change in mindset and implement visa waiver and trusted traveller programs. The travel and tourism industry needs to continue to lobby for change and demonstrate to individual countries the economic opportunities, which will be generated, through improvements to visa processes.”

He also confirmed that WTTC will continue to campaign for more winds of change in airline de-regulation to allow carriers to operate more efficiently across national borders and provide greater choice to consumers.

Ending his speech, Scowsill put out a rallying call to the one thousand delegates present. “The art of leadership is to create a vision, to embrace that vision and drive it to completion,” he said. “As leaders in our industry, we must continue to work together to drive our vision and to elevate the cause of freedom to travel, to influence policies for growth and boldly plan for a tourism for tomorrow. The message is clear going forward. Travel and tourism has a vital role to play in shaping the future and the industry needs to be at the forefront of shaping that future.”

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