CAMPECHE, Mexico — Tourism Ministers and representatives from more than 50 countries recognized Mexico’s leadership in tourism during the 94th Session of the Executive Council of the UNWTO which took place in Campeche, Mexico. The Secretary General of the UN agency, Taleb Rifai said Mexico serves as an example to the world thanks to the efforts of the Federal Government to foster tourism development.
During the final session, the Secretary General praised President Felipe Calderon for his efforts in the Federal Government in support of the tourism industry.
“Mexico’s leadership in tourism has been outstanding and the results demonstrate that National Agreement for Tourism has been a resounding success, I trust that the next government will continue this work so that Mexico remains as one of the most visited countries in the world,” said Taleb Rifai.
The 94th Session of the Executive Council of the UNWTO has advanced the development of global strategies to increase tourism globally. During the two-day meeting, the representatives of the countries that compose this UN agency analyzed the strategies to boost the development of the industry. The event helped evaluate actions to promote growth through the facilitation of migration and visa elimination that will help generate more jobs in the industry.
The role tourism can play to stimulate growth in the face of a global economic crisis was highlighted during the event; it is an engine for development and source of employment. Gloria Guevara, Secretary of Tourism of Mexico pointed out that, according to a study by Oxford Economics for the UNWTO, tourist activity can generate up to 5.1 million new jobs in the G20 Economies in 2015 if the countries apply the correct migration measures to facilitate travel and tourism.
She mentioned that, in the case of Mexico, the current administration has accepted American visas to enter the country and said they are working on eliminating visas between countries of the Pacific Alliance (Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru); this will increase the number of visitors between countries.
The Secretary of Tourism pointed out that in 2011 Mexico reached a record of 191.5 million visitors (national and international) and according to forecasts, this year will close with more than 200 million travelers continuing the trend up to 2013.
Tourism is a priority industry that represents 9% of world GDP. The forecasts by UNWTO indicate sustained growth for the following years reaching a billion international travelers in 2012 and 1.8 billion by 2030.
The importance of tourism for the economy and world employment was highlighted; it represents a spillover of 6 billion dollars and tourism represents 8% of global employment. It is estimated that each job in the tourism industry will foster the creation of 2 more in other economic sectors. Tourism employs 6 times more people than the auto manufacturing sector, 4 times more than the mining sector and a third more than financial sector.
The minister of tourism of Kenya, Danson Mwazo, spoke about the richness of Mexico and particularly about Campeche (where the meeting took place) and its rich Mayan history. He also praised the strategies developed to foster tourism by Secretary Guevara.
The Minister of tourism of Romania, Cristian Barhalescu, said the meeting in Campeche exceeded all expectations and said Mexico has placed tourism at the top of the agenda worldwide.
Romania will take temporarily the presidency of the Executive Council while the vice-presidency will be taken by Jamaica. The countries in the meeting also decided to make Serbia the next host of the Executive Council Meeting of the UNWTO in 2013.