The Role of Travel and Tourism Lauded by G20 Leaders

 The G20 world leaders have, for the first time in history, recognized the critical role travel and tourism has in fuelling job growth and economic development. It also included a commitment from leaders of the G20 nations to promote initiatives which facilitate more efficient immigration procedures thus expanding tourism.

The Leaders’ Declaration G20 Leaders Summit held in Los Cabos, Mexico, states implicitly that: “we recognize the role of travel and tourism as a vehicle for job creation, economic growth, and development, and, while recognizing the sovereign right of States to control the entry of foreign nationals, we will work towards developing travel facilitation initiatives in support of job creation, quality work, poverty reduction, and global growth.”

Mexico’s Secretary of Tourism, Gloria Guevara said that the inclusion of tourism on the agenda of the G20 Leaders’ Summit represented an unprecedented breakthrough for the enhancement of the tourism industry globally.

Taleb Rifai, Secretary General of United Nations World Tourism Organization (WTO) referred to this as a “significant success” for the global tourism industry and he applauded the efforts undertaken by the Calderon Government in advancing the tourism industry, particularly the inclusion of tourism as an item on the agenda of the G20.

Secretary-General Rifai said, “We commend and will support the G20 leaders who have recognized the importance of travel and tourism as an engine of economic growth and job creation.”

David Scowsill, President and CEO of the World Travel and Tourism Council said, “Following the successful T20 (Tourism Ministers of G20 countries) last month, which was chaired by Secretary Gloria Guevara, President Felipe Calderon received a declaration on the importance of travel and tourism as a generator of jobs. He then took this declaration to the G20 meeting in Los Cabos, which was the first time that this sector has been discussed by the world’s leaders.”

Scowsill added, “World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) would like to congratulate President Calderon and Secretary Guevara for their leadership and their focus on the industry, underlining its potential to create new jobs in such difficult economic times. Mexico has been leading the world in marketing the beauty of the country, and in making changes to visa policies to encourage more inbound tourists.”

Kirk Kinsell, Director of the Board of Intercontinental Hotels Group (IHG) and President of the Americas, participated in the delegation to Mexico led by Prime Minister of the United Kingdom David Cameron commented that, “for the first time tourism has been discussed in a G20 Leader’s Summit. Tourism has a key role in the global economy and if we could remove certain barriers, the industry could generate at least 5.1 million additional jobs by 2015. ”

Last month the Tourism Ministers of the G20 nations and the European Union converged on the Yucatan for the 4th Meeting of Tourism Ministers (T20) and forged the “Merida Declaration” a policy proposal submitted to the G20 Leaders which suggests implementing streamlined procedures for obtaining visas so as to boost tourism internationally.

Research by UNWTO and WTTC, released at the T20 Tourism Ministers Meeting last May, indicated that the G20 group of nations could boost their international tourist numbers and generate over 5 million jobs.