According to new World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) figures to be released at the start of the World Tourism Market (WTM), 2006 will be the third year of sustained growth.This sets the ground for a healthy expansion of the sector during 2007, although probably at a slightly slower pace.
“Tourism keeps the world economy on the move. It is number one in world services trade, the largest export earner, and employs millions of people. Most of these jobs are in small or medium-sized, family-owned businesses”, UNWTO Secretary-General Francesco Frangialli said.
This characterizes the tourism sector in general and the UNWTO activities in particular as showcased at World Travel Market, ranging from the situation in the Middle East to responsible tourism. The Secretary-General of UNWTO will outline the tourism scenario and make major announcements concerning new UNWTO’s approaches and alliances at an event on the World Stage at WTM on Monday 6th of November at 5pm.
Emergency Response Portal
UNWTO signed a long-term partnership agreement with Microsoft Corporation to help in developing information communications technology for the tourism sector, with an emphasis on developing countries generally and Africa in particular.
UNWTO and Microsoft Corporation will unveil on the first day of WTM the beta site of a new Emergency Response Management Portal, designed to help tourism stakeholders track and respond to major man made and natural disasters affecting the sector.
“This portal will be a one stop shop for governments & the private sector to find up to date information on tourism aspects of evolving emergencies, as well as useful guidance on response” said Assistant Secretary-General Geoffrey Lipman
Recovery in Lebanon
The geopolitical situation has seriously affected tourism in Lebanon and in the surrounding countries of the Middle East. In a joint press conference, the Secretary-General of UNWTO and the Ministers of Tourism for Lebanon and Jordan will review trends in Lebanon and in the region, looking at the facts and the plans for the future.
“Lebanon is an important tourism destination. It is a country with long and rich traditions in tourism. Over the years, Lebanon has shown remarkable resilience. As tourism is the most essential sector of the Lebanese economy, the recovery of the industry will, without doubt, contribute to peace and stability in Lebanon and, in turn, the whole region. Today, the tourism industry in Lebanon is facing new challenges and difficulties. The International Community is called upon to assist Lebanon”, said Taleb Rifai, UNWTO Deputy Secretary-General.
Global Code of Ethics - Protecting children
UNWTO’s Global Code of Ethics sets the framework for an overall beneficial tourism activity. In this context, UNWTO has set up a Task Force to help protect children from sexual abuse. During the WTM the Task Force extends its coverage to include issues such as human rights, trafficking and child labour. UNWTO is an active supporter of other similar initiatives within the UN system, such as those initiated by UNICEF.
“We will include action against all forms of child exploitation in the tourism sector”, said the head of Ethical Tourism at UNWTO, Marina Diotallevi.
Tourism and Sports
As preparations for the next two Olympic Games in Beijing (2008) and London (2012) are under way, UNWTO considers the links between tourism and sports. “The main objective will be to reflect on the value of staging such a high profile event as the Games and how best to use it to produce durable benefits for tourism”, said Regional Representative for Europe, Luigi Cabrini.
On Tuesday 7th, a seminar jointly organized by UNWTO and the UK Ministry of Culture, Media and Sport (MCMS) at the WTM, will look into the sustainable opportunities for tourism arising from mega sports events.
Responsible Tourism Day
Responsible Tourism is an important consumer and corporate component of triple bottom line sustainability - economic, social and environmental. The need for a more responsible attitude in tourism, especially towards host communities, has become evident in recent years.
The UN family and the Tourism Industry celebrates World Tourism Day each 27th of September, celebrating the social and economic relevance of Tourism - a video will be played throughout the event on all the WTM screens.
Now in a first extension, WTM will launch Responsible Tourism Day with UNWTO as its major partner, focusing on practical action by the industry and other stakeholders in this critically important area.