WTTC unveils theme for tourism summit

The World Travel & Tourism Council has unveiled the theme of its 9th Global Travel & Tourism Summit, which will be held in Florianópolis, Brazil. “Real Partnerships - Energising Economies” aims to provide a forum for debate on how the private and public sector can work in partnership to navigate the travel and tourism industry through the economic downturn.
The announcement was made at a meeting between the WTTC, the Brazilian Minister of Tourism, Luiz Barretto and President of Embratur, Jeanine Pires, and other key business leaders.

Speaking at the launch event, WTTC’s President and CEO Jean-Claude Baumgarten outlined WTTC’s provisional estimates for the industry’s economic impact in 2008 and 2009.

He said: “The deterioration in the macroeconomic environment and the marked slowdown in the monthly indicators of tourism activity in the last months of 2008 resulted in a much more pronounced cycle in Travel & Tourism Economy GDP than envisaged in January 2008.”

“The relatively resilient first-half 2008 performance, plus the lead time between holiday bookings and actual vacations, suggest the impact on growth in 2008 will have been limited - although our preliminary estimates indicate that travel and tourism economy GDP increased by just 1% last year - two percentage points below our January 2008 forecast.”

Baumgarten predicts that the global economic impact on travel and tourism will nevertheless be much greater in 2009, and the industry is now expected to contract this year by around 3.5%. Moreover, he argues even this forecast - like macroeconomic prospects generally - carries downside risks.

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“There is no doubt that the travel & tourism industry is facing significant challenges in the year ahead,” he warned. “And this makes public-private partnership even more critical, especially given the current economic climate and the many other uncertain variables that could affect the outlook.”

The theme of the 9th Global Travel & Tourism Summit has been acclaimed as an exemplary public-private partnership as it will bring together national, state and local governments from Brazil and other parts of the world, together with leaders of the private sector from every continent.

In welcoming the Summit to Brazil, Jeanine Pires, President of Embratur, noted: “The Government of Brazil, Embratur, the Brazilian Ministry of Tourism and the State of Santa Catarina have partnered with WTTC to realise the world’s highest-level gathering of global industry leaders to discuss ways in which the industry can overcome the economic downturn and play a role in re-energising economies worldwide.”

The 9th Global Travel & Tourism Summit will take place from 15-16 May 2009.
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