The growing importance of tourism’s role in the global economy was once again underscored by WTTC president & CEO Gloria Guevara yesterday at the opening of the WTTC’s Global Summit in Seville, Spain.
“Travel & tourism is truly the best partner for governments to generate economic growth, create jobs and reduce poverty,” said Guevara, addressing over 1,500 global leaders including former US president Barack Obama at WTTC’s annual key event that is themed ‘Changemakers’ this year.
Guevara opened: “We are living in an era of rapid change, the pace of which, I predict, will only increase. Within the past decade alone we have witnessed advancements that have propelled the travel & tourism sector to new heights, fundamentally changing the way we live, the way we do business, the way we communicate with each other, and the way millions and millions of people travel every day.”
Surging tourism figures in 2018 – with 1.4 billion international arrivals and 4.4 billion people flying around the world, and domestic tourism chalking up seven trips – are “just the beginning” of tourism’s exponential growth globally, the WTTC chief stated.
Industry stakeholders “need to make sure that we stay ahead of the curve by considering what the future of travel looks like, who the consumers of tomorrow will be and what they will expect”, she added.
Emphasising the global economic powerhouse that is travel & tourism sector, which is projected to generate an addition 100 million jobs, or one in four new jobs, over the next decade, she said: “Our sector is truly the best partner for governments to generate economic growth, create jobs and reduce poverty. But we cannot take historical strong performance and positive forecasts as a given.
“The reality is that the world is confronted by significant challenges that require coordinated global action, changemaking behaviour and more collaboration. If we don’t work on our future, the growth predictions could fail to materialise, impacting millions of jobs and progress towards the SDGs.”
At the summit, WTTC also launched the Global Best Practices Recognition Initiative as toolkit for public and private sectors worldwide to develop, review and implement proven policies in the sector.
Despite the travel & tourism’s ability to be a force for good, best practices across the sector are not readily available for both the public and private sectors, often compelling governments to unnecessarily reinvent the wheel, researching solutions to problems that have already been successfully innovated on elsewhere in the world, WTTC said in a statement.
WTTC’s Global Best Practices Recognition Initiative will be an ongoing drive, continually updated by integrating the most recent quantifiable success stories into a new online repository to ensure that the most innovative policies are shared among travel & tourism networks.
The initiative’s immediate focus will be on ‘quick win’ policies and ‘game changers’ in the areas of securing & facilitating travel, prioritising the sector, and planning for sustainable & inclusive growth. This will extend to policies related to infrastructure, workforce, technology, regulation, innovations, entrepreneurship, resilience and crisis planning in the future.
Among the policies identified in the initiative’s initial phase are the USA’s Global Entry programme, which provides expedited clearance for pre-approved, low-risk travellers upon arrival; Colombia’s significant investments and rebranding that have rebuilt the country as a safe and desirable destination; and Palau’s ‘Pledge’, which permits entry to the island upon the visitor signing a pledge asking them to respect the island’s ecology and support local business.
Tiffany Misrahi, Director of Policy, WTTC added, “As we launch the initial phase of our grand efforts in cross-pollinating government and private sector networks with best practice case studies, we call upon those same leaders to share with us the results of their own excellent work so that we may continue to amplify our online repository with the very best initiatives from across the globe.”
All of the best practices can be found at www.wttc.org/agenda/best-practices.