Ministers of Tourism from major economies at the recent (T20) Ministers’ Meeting) in Paris have called on decision-makers to consider tourism within their strategies to foster the economy and when facing the challenges of job creation.
The meeting called on members of the G20 to take notice of the importance and impact of tourism as a topic of discussion in the coming years’ summits and so consider the “significant economic and social potential of tourism for the global economy, employment and sustainable development”.
There is a need to convince our decision-makers of the importance of tourism to the economy and employment, said Mr. Frederic Lefebvre, Minister of Tourism of France. “In these challenging times, we need to maximize our strengths and tourism is one of them,” he added.
Mr. Taleb Rifai, UNWTO Secretary-General pointed out that tourism can be part of the solution to the economic difficulties facing the world. He said that, “Amid increased economic uncertainty, unacceptably high unemployment rates and the challenges of fiscal consolidation and increased taxation in many economies, it is time for us to recall the role tourism can have in increasing exports, driving economic growth and creating jobs“.
The debate highlighted the wider effect of tourism on many sectors of an economy particularly employment, as well as the contribution of the sector to minimizing trade unbalances in many economies and promoting regional development.
With one billion tourists set to cross international borders in 2012, the meeting furthermore stressed the impact of tourism and the need for it to address the challenges of sustainable development and climate change to ensure a sustained future. Ministers also stressed the need to reduce travel barriers and increase investment to move the tourism agenda forward.
The T20 is an initiative created to advocate the value of tourism within the strategies of economic recovery/growth; it aims to position tourism as a driver of economic, social and environmental change. The next meeting of the T20 will be held in Mexico, in May 2012.