Industry leaders to meet in Florianópolis at the 9th WTTC Global Travel & Tourism Summit
WTTC Kick starting the recovery of the global economy
As the global business leaders' forum, comprising the Presidents and Chief Executives of the foremost 100 Travel & Tourism companies around the world, WTTC's main mission is to promote the economic importance of the sector, which generates 9% of global GDP and employs as many as 220 million people worldwide.
"This is the first time that the Summit has been held in Latin America," Jean-Claude Baumgarten, WTTC's President & CEO told the Brazilian media and industry leaders at a press conference to launch the Summit programme in São Paulo earlier today. "And we are delighted to bring the Summit to Santa Catarina," Baumgarten added, "a state which offers enormous promise in terms of tourism development and opportunities for investors in Travel & Tourism, whether from Brazil or other countries.
"The Summit's rich programme, organised under the theme Real Partnerships: Energising Economies, and which includes high-level speakers from both the public and private sectors, will offer a unique opportunity to the global Travel & Tourism industry - not least in Brazil," Baumgarten said, "to create new forms of public-private sector partnership to restore confidence, which in turn will help kick-start Travel & Tourism demand and stimulate economic growth and employment."
"Other sessions certain to generate huge interest include an international panel discussion on Changing Values," noted Ufi Ibrahim, Chief Operating Officer of WTTC and author of the Summit programme. "Panellists in this session will debate the main value drivers of key stakeholders in Travel & Tourism, and try to determine how these will evolve over the coming years.
"As always for the annual Summit," Ms Ibrahim added, "we have attracted some top-rate speakers - personalities from outside the Travel & Tourism industry - who bring a fresh perspective to the Summit discussions and debates. A prime example this year will be the keynote presentation on No Time To Think by the acclaimed book's authors, Charles Feldman and Howard Rosenberg. They will reflect on the media's ability to distort perspectives - to an extent which influences global society, not only consumers but also governments and businesses."
The Travel & Tourism industry is already struggling to meet the challenges posed by the current economic and financial crisis. "And these have been exacerbated by the recent swine flu outbreak," Baumgarten added.
"So this year's Global Travel & Tourism Summit in Brazil offers a timely opportunity for leaders from all sectors of Travel & Tourism and related industries to meet together in an ideal setting to discuss the challenges facing the industry and come up with innovative solutions."
The more than 50 speakers and panellists from all four corners of the globe who are participating the two-day Summit include: Paulo Nogueira Batista Jr, Executive Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in Brazil, Latin America and the Caribbean; Firmin Antonio, Honorary Chairman of Accor Latin America; John Walker, Chairman of Oxford Economics; Martin Feldstein, Harvard UniversityGeorge F Baker Professor of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research President Emeritus; US Economic Recovery Advisory Board; Hubert Joly, President and CEO of Carlson; Fernando Pinto, CEO of TAP Portugal; Sebastián Escarrer, Vice Chairman of Sol Meliá; Domenico de Masi, Professor at the University La Sapenzia; Jabu Mabuza, Group Chief Executive of Tsogo Sun Holdings (Pty) Ltd; Sonu Shivdasani, Chairman & CEO of Six Senses Resorts & Spas; and Gerald Lawless, Executive Chairman of Jumeirah Group.
Tourism in Brazil
In Brazil, tourism generates more than US$40 billion a year and creates around 6 million opportunities for employment. "The revenue generated by tourism has risen by 132% in the last five years, to US$5.8 billion in 2008 - up 16.8% on 2007 - which had been our best year until then," said Jeanine Pires, President of the Brazilian Tourism Institute, EMBRATUR, and one of the speakers at the Summit. These results make Brazil the first country in Latin America to enter the Top 10 in terms of global tourism events.
"The State and Federal Governments' commitment to the conservation of natural and cultural resources in the State of Santa Catarina was one of the main factors in attracting the 9th Global Travel and Tourism Summit to Brazil, and it will contribute significantly to the development and prosperity of our community," said the Governor of Santa Catarina State, Luiz Henrique da Silveira.
WTTC and its research partner Oxford Economics will also be presenting a report to Summit delegates on the impact of Travel & Tourism on Santa Catarina's economy - "a much awaited assessment of the state's potential for growth and investment," to quote Ms Ibrahim.
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