Governments that adopt a fully coordinated approach to the development of tourism policies are the most successful in maximising the economic and social potential of the sector, according to a new report from the World Travel & Tourism Council.
Speaking to the United States Travel Association at its autumn board meeting in Washington DC, WTTC president David Scowsill said: “Travel drives economic growth, creates jobs and sustains investment throughout the world. It drives almost ten per cent of global GDP and supports one in eleven of all jobs on the planet.
“Many governments are still not adopting a holistic approach to the maximising the potential of this sector.
“Our newly released report, ‘Governing National Tourism Policy’, concludes that for the sector to thrive and to develop in a sustainable manner, governments need to fully integrate tourism into the national economic agenda and coordinate development across the public and private sector.”
The different country examples studied by WTTC suggest that if the consultation process is backed up by legislation – if a tourism policy council or committee has statutory powers – the sector’s economic importance and priority through different government administrations is much more secure.
Scowsill continued: “For many heads of state, the starting point is the recognition that our sector is a key pillar of economic development, and that it suffers from a lack of co-ordination between different ministries and agencies.
“This results in conflicting policy decisions – such as protecting and supporting national carriers instead of promoting open skies access to markets; funding promotional campaigns, while not facilitating visa automation; imposing unfair taxes on departing airline passengers, while not investing in necessary long term infrastructure - in summary a completely incoherent approach to tourism governance and commerce.”
WTTC research shows that those governments which seek to adopt a holistic approach to the development of tourism are far more likely to make co-ordinated policies across ministries to support this sector.
Countries which welcome and encourage the input of the private sector into strategic planning and policy-making are those that will plan successfully for future growth.