World Travel & Tourism Council president David Scowsill has delivered his keynote speech to delegates at the 14th annual Global Summit.
Addressing an audience in Hainan, China, he expressed optimism for the future of the tourism industry in the country, but also went on to argue the sector could be a force for good on the international stage.
Full text below:
Ministers, distinguished guests, members, ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Hainan for the 2014 WTTC Global Summit.
We are delighted to be back in China for the first time since Beijing in 2010.
During the past four years, the topic of China has been very much at the forefront of our discussions at our Global Summits.
Like most industries, we have watched the impact of the Asia Miracle on our sector, as China pursued its destiny of becoming the powerhouse of the world economy.
It is widely accepted that in the next ten-15 years China will overtake the United States, to become not only the biggest tourism contributor in the world… but indeed the biggest economy in the world.
More about that later…
Therefore it is good timing that we return to China to continue our dialogue about the importance of travel to the Chinese Economy and to the Global Economy.
So firstly….why does the Chinese economy need travel and tourism?
China’s tourism businesses support 65 million jobs and the sector contributes nine per cent of China’s GDP.
China’s tourism is forecast to keep growing at over seven per cent each year for the next ten years.
By the middle of the next decade China’s tourism industry will employ over 90 million people – that will be one in every nine jobs in China.
It does make China crucially important for our industry.
But is also demonstrates the mutual dependency and importance of our industry to the world’s fastest-growing economy.
For the same reasons – we should also address the question: why does the Global economy need tourism?
The financial contribution of tourism to the wellbeing of the Global Economy is unarguable, but the challenge is still there to educate governments whenever political parties change.…..
The growth of our industry outstrips the growth of global GDP year after year.
In fact, WTTC forecasts that tourism will grow by 4.4 per cent per year - every year for the next ten years - far higher than global GDP which will grow at 3.5 per cent.
By 2024 our industry will be generating over $11 trillion and will have created 75 million new jobs.
So it comes as no surprise that governments also need tourism.
Governments need this industry’s contribution to trade.
Governments need us to support the processes of nation building and disaster recovery.
They need us to provide bridges to increase international cooperation, and to help foster greater understanding between societies.
When Governments listen, they learn that we have a powerful case to make that helps them achieve their political goals – not just their economic ones.
Too many governments around the world have still failed to acknowledge the vast potential of our industry.
This leads to deficiencies like destructive border policies, exorbitant taxes and poor long-term infrastructure planning.
All these prevent progress and growth.
Everyone in this room will have had frustrating experiences of dealing with governments in these respects.
Then our final question to be answered is: why does the World needs tourism?
In a rapidly changing and increasingly unpredictable world, everyone needs certainties that they can trust; a few unshakeable truths.
The world more than ever needs Leaders that can be trusted.
It needs industries that work positively for the good and benefit of all – not just the few.
Industries that are capable of building a future that is sustainable and dependable.
This is the power of tourism.
The significance of tourism as a ‘Force for Good’ has increasingly become recognised by some key world leaders.
Travel has a unique role to play as a driver of cultural understanding, mutual respect, diplomacy, economic development and peace-keeping.
We are an industry that is mindful of its responsibilities to protect the planet and its precious assets.
We are proud to provide prosperity and jobs for millions.
We can be a force for good in a problematic and unpredictable world.
So this is our purpose as we meet here in China for the next two days:
I urge you to enjoy the Global Summit…
Please participate, listen, learn, join the debate, and play your part in making the world a more prosperous and better place.