1st meeting of the UNWTO Tourism Resilience Committee - Tourism can play a key role in stimulus programmes
- Tourism, alongside other economic sectors, is feeling the impacts of the deterioration of the global economy.
- First meeting of the UNWTO Tourism Resilience Committee held in Madrid.
- A unique opportunity to assess the volatile economic situation and its impact on tourism, and discuss response and policy recommendations.
- Tourism may play a chief role in stimulus programmes, including infrastructure programmes, due to its immense capacity to create jobs and its recovery potential.
The Committee, chaired by His Excellency Zoheir Garranah, Tourism Minister of Egypt, represents a unique platform to share short-term analysis and prospects as well as response best practises to help better asses and weather the impact of the current situation on tourism performance.
Tourism, alongside other economic sectors, is feeling the impacts of the deterioration of the global economy. The economic downturn - combined with increasing uncertainties, extreme market volatility and declining consumer and business confidence - took already its toll on international tourism demand as proven by plummeting results during the last months of 2008. This set the pace for 2009 as economic forecasts are experiencing successive downward revisions adding to the existing uncertainty and confidence crisis.
Short-term response - long term challenges
Unlike previous crisis, the current downturn is for the first time of a global nature, affecting both emerging and mature destinations, and its impact is probable to last longer. But, history shows that the return of economic growth will also lead to the recovery of tourism. And the sector can, and should, play a key role in any global response plan.
The TRC meeting stressed that any short-term economic response goals must be aligned with long-term commitments to sustainable development, poverty alleviation and climate change response.
UNWTO Deputy Secretary-General Taleb Rifai stressed that “In these times of such significant uncertainty and volatility, both public and private tourism stakeholders have a responsibility to continue and even reinforce the efforts towards a more sustainable tourism development. UNWTO will stand by its members and the tourism sector as a whole to achieve this.”
Minister Zoheir Garranah said that “any short term measures should stay on course with the development and climate agenda”.
UNWTO Assistant Secretary-General, Geoffrey Lipman added that “The ultimate goal should be to strive for what is being termed ‘smart tourism’. By this we mean clean, green, ethical and quality at all levels of the service chain. There is no better sector for this green economy approach than tourism. We can provide many more green tourism jobs in the years ahead if we set our minds to the task”.
UNWTO will further assist Members and provide direction to the industry at large through strengthened support services in risk management and crisis response as well as expanding its long-term market 2020 vision to 2030. Notes: The Committee is open to all UNWTO Members as well as invited key private and public stakeholders. The Committee will meet at least on two more occasions during 2009: on the 13thin March at ITB, Berlin, Germany, and in October at the UNWTO General Assembly, in Astana, Kazakhstan.
For International Tourism in 2008 and Outlook for 2009 click here
UNWTO Press and Communications Department
Phone: (34) 91-567-8193
Fax: (34) 91-567-8218