Taoiseach Enda Kenny, prime minister of Ireland, has joined the World Travel &Tourism Council/UN World Tourism Organisation sponsored Global Leaders for Tourism Campaign.
Speaking at the Global Irish Economic Forum he said: “Tourism is playing a critical role in Ireland’s economic recovery.”
“Government has recognised its potential, having made it integral to the design of our jobs initiative.
“There are very encouraging signs, based on recent data, which highlighted increased visitor numbers to this island.
“We in government are determined to ensure that this growth continues by marketing Ireland with an energy and enthusiasm that reflects the resilience and drive of all our citizens, as we continue on our journey of economic recovery.
The Prime Minister received an Open Letter from the WTTC and UNWTO, which were jointly represented by Gerald Lawless, executive committee chairman of WTTC and executive chairman of the Jumeirah Group, and James Hogan, executive committee member of WTTC and chief executive officer of Etihad Airways.
The Open Letter stresses the significance of travel and tourism to global growth and development for Ireland.
Ireland’s taking part in the campaign underscores the fact that travel and tourism is a vital contributor to the global development agenda, affording it a unique role in building strong, sustainable, and balanced global growth.
The second Global Irish Economic Forum examines the Irish government’s priorities for economic renewal, job creation, and the restoration of Ireland’s reputation abroad, making this the ideal platform for the Irish Head of government to join the global campaign.
The signing places additional emphasis on the links between tourism and international and national economic development.
David Scowsill, president of WTTC, said: “Signing the Open Letter at the Global Irish Forum reiterates Ireland’s commitment to tourism and demonstrates the country’s leadership role in the travel and tourism industry.
“This underlines that the government truly understands the impact on job creation and the positive economic impact that travel and tourism brings to global GDP.”
Travel and tourism makes a contribution of six per cent or EUR9.1billion of GDP in 2011 to the Irish economy and supports 106,000 jobs or 5.9 per cent of total employment.
The campaign has already received the support of the Presidents of Mexico, South Africa, China, Kazakhstan, Hungary, Burkina Faso, Indonesia, Kenya, and Mozambique.
Many other heads of state and governments are slated to take part in the initiative this year.
“Tourism today is a key sector in building economic growth and generating much needed employment,” said UNWTO secretary-general, Taleb Rifai.
“Ireland joining the WTTC/UNWTO campaign is proof of the importance given to the sector in the country and the commitment of the government in making it a driver for the well-being of its people.”