As a result of the challenges posed by the global economic crisis and the upcoming G20 meeting in London, UNWTO stresses that tourism and travel can play an integral role in any stimulus package and the shift towards a green economy. Tourism is a massive creator of jobs, as well as being a leading services export for developing economies.Due to its strong economic multiplier effect as a sector dominated by small and medium enterprises, tourism and travel, if properly encouraged, can play a more important role in economic stimulus and building consumer confidence than is generally recognized. Travel fuels business growth, makes sport and entertainment possible and sustains rural destinations. It also strengthens trade by boosting income for the poorest countries as well as for global suppliers who are mainly from G20 member states.
“Tourism and travel mean jobs, infrastructure, trade and development. These are the issues that world leaders are emphasising in coordinated recovery actions. What we need is recognition of the value of travel in this mix and most importantly its capacity to generate jobs” says UNWTO Secretary-General ad interim, Taleb Rifai. He added “Some countries have already begun to develop stimulus measures to minimise the impact of the crisis, including fiscal incentives, travel facilitation and increased marketing support. Others should follow suit.”
At the same time UNWTO stressed the fact that the tourism and travel sector can be a leader in the transformation to a new green economy. Investment in green infrastructure -airports, high speed rail, roads and ports.
UNWTO Assistant Secretary-General and Spokesperson, Geoffrey Lipman, said “The industry - transportation; hospitality and travel services - is increasingly committed to climate response. Our carbon emissions at some 5% of the total are significant but manageable, with adaptation and new technology. Poor countries, who need more visitors for their development agenda, will also need special financial support to help them make the changes necessary to become climate neutral. Investment in Green Tourism - climate proofing hotels, clean biofuels for transport and widespread education/training programmes will pay massive dividends and send positive signals to consumers around the world.”