2016 UNWTO & WTM Ministers’ Summit to focus on promoting safe, seamless travel

Posted: October 21, 2016 in general

SavedPicture-2016922161232.jpgTourism is one of the fastest growing and most resilient economic activities of today. Over the past decades, international tourist arrivals have more than doubled, from 528 million in 1995 to 1.184 million in 2015.

At a global level, tourism has proven to be quite resilient and constantly growing; the sector is however regularly challenged by natural and man-made risks and crises. These crises have a great impact at the destination level, threatening to destroy their economy and social structures. Considering that tourism is predominantly ‘immaterial’ and often depends on perceptions, the sector is, thus, highly sensitive to both objective and subjective risks.

In order to manage these challenges adequately, relevant structures and processes have to be designed in a robust and resilient, but also flexible manner, with clear understanding of the special needs and concerns of the tourism sector, whilst maintaining a balance between security and seamless travel.

Building resilience within the tourism sector requires a realignment and full integration of tourism within the national and local disaster risk and emergency management structures. It further requires this responsibility to be shared amongst all relevant stakeholders.

Furthermore, current security concerns threaten the recent advances registered in travel facilitation and seamless travel around the world. According to the UNWTO’s latest Visa Openness Report, the share of tourists requiring the obtainment of a traditional visa prior to travelling continues to decline and is currently at its lowest recorded level. In 2015, 39% of the world’s population could travel without having to obtain a traditional visa prior to departure, as compared to only 23% in 2008.

In 2009, the UNWTO General Assembly approved a Declaration on the Facilitation of Tourist Travel with a set of principles, including the use of modern information and communication technologies, in relation with travel advisories and visa facilitation. Developing more innovative technologies in facilitating seamless travel and in creating a more resilient tourism sector is a collaborative responsibility between the tourism sector and security structures.

Considering that:

1.The current safety and security situation is a global problem and, as such, requires a global response;

2.Countries affected need collective support to get through difficulties and to build the recovery;

3.Clear communication is critical, including adequate crisis communication preparedness and management;

4.Public and private sectors must plan, work, communicate, and respond together;

5.Accurate and constantly updated travel advisories are critical; and

6.Experiences and best practices must be shared, so that countries can learn from each other.

The 2016 edition of the UNWTO/WTM Ministers’ Summit will focus on the following issues:

  • What are the major safety and security challenges facing the tourism sector and how to address them?
  • How to foster the dialogue between the tourism and security to strengthen effective coordination, information sharing, and communication in crisis preparedness, management and recovery?
  • How to advance the integration of tourism and security and develop a resilient tourism sector through adequate mechanisms, resources and technical skills
  • How can destinations and source markets work closer together through their public and private sector to promote safe and seamless travel?
  • How to maximize the use of technology to enhance national and economic security.

Moderator: Becky Anderson, Managing Editor & Anchor, CNN International

Speakers:

H.E. Mr. Nabi Avci, Minister of Culture and Tourism, Turkey

Hon. Najib Balala, Cabinet Secretary for Tourism, Ministry of Tourism, Kenya

Ms. Nina Brooks, Head, Security, Airports Council International (ACI) World

H.E. Mrs. Selma Elloumi Rekik, Minister of Tourism and Handicrafts, Tunisia

Ms. Isabel Hill, Director National Travel and Tourism Office, Unted States Department of Commerce

Mr. Fritz Joussen, Chief Executive Officer, TUI

Mr. Aldo Lale-Demoz, Deputy Executive Director and Director of the Division for Operations, UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC)

Mr. Ryoichi Matsuyama, President, Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO)

Mark Tanzer, Chief Executive, ABTA

Mr. David Scowsill, President and CEO, World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC)

H.E. Mr. Mohamed Yehia Rashed, Minister of Tourism, Egypt

Hon. Edward Zammit Lewis, Minister of Tourism, Malta.

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