The global tourism industry has been looking to the future as the annual Global Travel & Tourism Summit draws to a close in Beijing.
Following a lavish opening ceremony on Tuesday, delegates have been locked in two days of high level talks.
Pictured: WTTC chief executive Ufi Ibrahim
Industry leaders have been joined by government representatives from around the world to take stock of where the industry stands today, while considering how to move forward in a challenging economic environment.
Issues including the rise of environmentalism, the development of a middle class in the BRIC nations, the impact of government regulations and role of technology on the tourism sector have all been high on the agenda at the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) hosted event.
Summing up the mood at the Beijing International Conference Centre after a difficult year for the industry, International Air Transport Association (IATA) chairman Antony Tyler said: “We in the industry are used to crisis. The natural condition of the industry is just that, crisis.
“However, I am certainly not pessimistic, far from it. We are involved in an industry which is important, vital even.”
The tenth annual conference also incorporated the Tourism for Tomorrow Awards, with winners – including Emirates Hotels & Resorts and Botswana Tourism Board – announced at the Centre for the Performing Arts in Beijing last night.
Celebrations as the Global Travel & Tourism Summit 2010 draws to a close
In her closing remarks WTTC chief executive officer, Ufi Ibrahim, said, despite the troubling times, international tourism “has a very bright future ahead”.
Referring to the development of hosts China as a tourism destination, Ms Ibrahim said: “Travel and tourism is the new gold; shining a light into the future.”
She was, however, quick to guard against complacency, adding: “We are faced constantly with new risks, new challenges; periods of calm are no longer the norm, we are faced with constant crisis.”
MGM Mirage chairman Jim Murren, Visit Las Vegas chairman Rossi Ralenkotter, WTTC chairman Jean-Claude Baumgarten and US Travel Association chief executive Roger Dow sign on for the 2011 Summit in Las Vegas
Las Vegas 2011
On hand today were representatives from Las Vegas, which now picks up the Global Travel & Tourism Summit baton.
The American city will host the next conference in 2011.
Accepting the invitation Rossi Ralenkotter, president of Visit Las Vegas, said: “This is the Olympics of the tourism industry, and hosting it will be a great honour for our city.
“We are the only city that evolved to host people; our history is short, but we were born to host. Next year you will be able to see that, the development of our truly international leisure offering.”
He was joined by Roger Dow, chief executive of the US Travel Association, who also praised the city, saying: “For this most important of events, what better place to go than the centre of leisure Las Vegas?
“The selection of the city really suggests the importance of this WTTC conference.”
The event is scheduled to take place between May 17-19th 2011.