“Tourism is truly the best partner for governments to generate economic growth, create jobs and reduce poverty,” World Travel & Tourism Council president Gloria Guevara has told delegates at the opening of the annual Global Summit.
Guevara was addressing over 1,500 tourism leaders at the opening ceremony of the event in Seville, Spain, this morning.
The WTTC represents the global private sector of tourism and its Global Summit is considered by many to be the most important event of the year.
Guevara opened: “We are living in an era of rapid change, the pace of which, I predict, will only increase.
“Within the past decade alone we have witnessed advancements that have propelled the tourism sector to new heights, fundamentally changing the way we live, the way we do business, the way we communicate with each other, and the way millions and millions of people travel every day.
“Last year we saw 1.4 billion international arrivals and 4.4 billion people flying around the world.
“Factoring in domestic tourism, there were around seven billion trips last year alone - and this is just the beginning.”
She continued: “As the tourism sector continues to grow, new markets open up, and more people have the opportunity to travel, we need to make sure that we stay ahead of the curve by considering what the future of travel looks like, who the consumers of tomorrow will be and what they will expect.
“That is why we are here today, and why the theme of this year’s Global Summit is ‘Changemakers’.
“Over the next decade our sector will generate an additional 100 million jobs, meaning that one in four new jobs created will be thanks to tourism.
“Our sector is truly the best partner for governments to generate economic growth, create jobs and reduce poverty.
“But we cannot take historical strong performance and positive forecasts as a given.”
The World Travel & Tourism Council is the body which represents the tourism private sector globally.
The organisation has a history of 25 years of research to quantify the economic impact of the sector in 185 countries.
Tourism is a key driver for investment and economic growth globally.
The sector contributes US$8.8 trillion or 10.4 per cent of global GDP, and accounts for 319 million jobs or one in ten of all jobs on the planet.
Guevara continued: “The reality is that the world is confronted by significant challenges that require coordinated global action, changemaking behaviour and more collaboration.
“If we don’t work on our future, the growth predictions could fail to materialise, impacting millions of jobs and progress towards the UN sustainable development goals.”
Every year, WTTC, which represents the global private sector of tourism, holds its Global Summit in a different city around the world.
The 2019 WTTC Global Summit will take place in Seville, Spain, on April 2nd-4th and will be hosted by Ayuntamiento of Seville, Turismo Andaluz and Turespaña.