The president of Portugal, Anibal Cavaco Silva, has highlighted the importance of tourism to the country while accepting an open letter from the World Travel & Tourism Council.
In a joint project with the United Nations World Tourism Organisation, the WTTC letter aims to rally support for tourism among world leaders.
Meeting UNWTO secretary-general, Taleb Rifai, and WTTC president, David Scowsill, president Cavaco Silva recalled that tourism directly represents nine per cent of Portugal’s GDP and eight per cent of the workforce.
“Tourism is very important for jobs and exports in Portugal,” said president Cavaco Silva, while highlighting the capacity the sector has in reducing poverty around the world and welcoming the work of the United Nations through UNWTO in this regard.
The president said it was central to “support increasing mobility around the globe as this is critical not only to the tourism sector, but also to the wellbeing of people as the tourism sector is of growing importance to many countries”.
WTTC president Scowsill added that few countries have a greater dependence on tourism than Portugal.
“During 2012, our industry will sustain directly and indirectly almost 18 per cent of all jobs and contribute 15 per cent of Portugal’s GDP.
“There is a large private sector committed to economic growth and job creation, which is committed to work with the government to stimulate further growth in these difficult economic times.
“The president understands the huge economic and social contribution that the industry makes to the Portuguese economy, and reflected this in his comments in our meeting.”