Governments blind to tourism

Governments still do not see the
full value of the tourism industry, according to the World Travel and Tourism

Experts at the conference said that
the sector’s impact on economic growth, employment and the wider economy is not
recognised, despite an estimated 235 million people being employed by the industry
in direct or related sectors and its contribution totalling 9 per cent of
global gross domestic product.

The council unveiled its Progress
and Priorities Report 2009 to 2010 at the Beijing tourism summit. The report
highlighted a subdued short-term recovery that will build in momentum through
2010 and 2011, said Jean-Claude Baumgarten, president and chief executive

The new report calls for more
government discussions with the private sector in order to find ways to turn
the tourism industry potential into a recovery, noted Mr. Baumgarten. He added
that China, as hosts of the conference, was leading the way for the rest of the

“As unemployment rates rise across
Europe, the UK and the USA, it is disappointing that other large and mature
destinations do not give similar recognition to an industry that supports so
many millions of jobs,” he said.

During the three-day event, tourism
representatives attended workshops and plenary sessions on subjects such as the
future tourism destinations and the host countries trans-formation and rapid
growth in terms of development.

In 2011 the Global Travel &
Tourism summit will be held in Las Vegas, USA.