Because they can provide enormous social and economic benefits, governments and private sector companies must ensure that travel and tourism are spread across all destinations and communities around the world. So said World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) President and CEO David Scowsill last week during the WTTC Global Summit in Hainan, China.
“Travel and tourism [have] a unique power to be a force for good in a problematic and unpredictable world. Governments need travel and tourism to support the processes of nation building and disaster recovery. They need travel and tourism to provide bridges to increase international cooperation and to help foster greater understanding between societies,” Scowsill said on April 24, during opening remarks at the summit. “The travel and tourism sector helps to drive cultural understanding, mutual respect, diplomacy, economic development and peace-keeping. We are mindful of our responsibilities to protect the planet and its precious assets. We are proud to provide prosperity and jobs for millions. This is the power of travel and tourism and we need to harness that power to play our part in building a future that is sustainable and dependable.”
Unfortunately, not all governments take travel’s economic and social benefits seriously. “Too many governments around the world fail to acknowledge the vast potential of our industry,” Scowsill continued. “This leads to deficiencies like destructive border policies, exorbitant taxes and poor long-term infrastructure planning. All these prevent progress and growth. This needs to change.”
During closing remarks on April 25, Scowsill reiterated that travel is a force for good, and urged the industry to ensure as much by being sustainable and adopting a strict code of ethics.
Said Scowsill, “We have a responsibility for the one billion travelers each year on our planet and another billion soon; for the plight of those affected by disasters, whether through natural disaster or man-made conflict and for the careful preservation of resources and protection of the planet. And we also have the responsibility to provide millions of quality jobs to people, who are seeking fulfillment and quality of life through employment, training, opportunities and careers. And we must not forget that we have to satisfy the markets and investors, who quite properly and responsibly seek returns for the huge investment that will be needed. If we can take care of all these responsibilities, then we will become the greatest industry on earth and a true force for good.”
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