Yes to President Obama’s tourism policy

It is right to welcome President Obama’s new support for the tourism sector and to congratulate Roger Dow and the US travel and tourism industry for their brilliant repositioning of the sector in recent years – including their successful lobbying for substantial new funding for marketing and promotion, and long overdue border facilitation.

So, too, the steps by the major organizations – the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), and the World Economic Forum (WEF) – to encourage world leaders to recognize the importance of the sector, to rally round the accelerated introduction of e-visas, and to sensitize the G20 to the job creation opportunities in travel and tourism and related sectors is to be applauded.

The International Council of Tourism Partners (ICTP) fully supports these and other related initiatives, and would like to add the following points of emphasis:

• As implementation is put in place, parallel and coherent consideration should be given to encouraging tourism flows and facilitation for poor and emerging states, as well as building fundamental green growth elements at the core.

• There is no activity as valuable to the future of the poor and emerging economies as travel and tourism, and this dimension should be mainstreamed in all national and international strategies to boost tourism flows and streamline border crossings.

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• In the challenging socio-economic times ahead, funds to support the many initiatives identified as essential for successful travel and tourism will be increasingly limited.

“Strategy and action should incorporate the same concepts that are increasingly accepted in the global climate change, trade, and poverty alleviation discourse: the poor and emerging countries need finance, technology, and capacity building to realize their potential and make the critical transition to a green growth future,” said Professor Geoffrey Lipman, President of ICTP.