[London. 13 June 2002][Lon and NYSE: SXC] Government representatives and officials from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) were urged to recognise the important role that travel and tourism already plays in furthering sustainable development, and its potential to do more. This message was delivered in a speech given by Daniel Desbaillets, Chief Operating Officer for Six Continents Hotels in South Asia. He addressed the audience at the Bali Inter-Continental Resort for the “UNEP and the Private Sector” special side event held on Sunday 2nd June.
This one-day event was specifically devoted to travel and tourism and marked the launch of the travel industries sectoral report on tourism to be distributed at the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) that is due to take place in September 2002 in Johannesburg, South Africa. Desbaillets was speaking on behalf of the International Hotel and Restaurant Association (IH&RA) and the World Travel and Tourism Council.
During his presentation, Desbaillets attributed the “truly global challenges” to triggers such as globalisation and the information technology revolution. He went on to explain that travel and tourism worldwide contributes over 10 per cent to GDP and around 200 million jobs worldwide. It is amongst the top five export sectors for more than 80 per cent of developing countries. With world travel and tourism forecast to rise by 4.5 per cent per annum, he stressed “there is clear potential for the industry to play a major role in the development process and improve the quality of life of millions of people.”
The Tourism Industry Report forms one of the 22 reports examined by the conference in preparation for the World Summit on Sustainable Development. Desbaillets observed that the report “demonstrates the delicate balance between sustainable development and the economic growth that stems from tourism.” He stressed the importance of including this industry sector on the agenda for the World Summit.
Six Continents PLC publishes its own policies and initiatives in an annual Environmental and Social Report available online at www.sixcontinents.com/environment and in a quarterly update “Our Planet”.