WTTC President Calls for Global Travel Coalition

Speaking this month at the 11th Global Travel & Tourism Summit in Las Vegas, David Scowsill, president and CEO of the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), called on the travel and tourism industry to create a global coalition that will speak with "one voice" in order to engage governments and stimulate growth, WTTC announced last week.

"My hope is that this coalition will bring us together where there is shared ground and issues, and allow us to target our messages in a clear and unambiguous way," Scowsill said. "Where we can, WTTC will take leadership on particular matters. And equally, where required, WTTC will provide support or follow the lead of others within the coalition. It is not important who leads or who follows as long as we get the job done."

Based on discussions that took place at the Global Travel & Tourism Summit, Scowsill identified the following six areas where coalition building can begin:

• Businesses and governments must embrace a new global mindset to match the challenges of growth.

• The industry must do a better job of demonstrating the huge returns it will offer over the next 20 years if it is to attract the level of institutional, private and government investment required for the development of infrastructure and new products.

• The importance of business travel to trade and economic growth, as well as corporate profits, needs to be communicated.

• Travel and tourism need to continue to be at the front of technological innovation and brand awareness in the online and mobile space.

• There is an urgent need for careful planning for growth of travel and tourism infrastructure to be sure that it can sustainably meet the demand from the millions of new consumers from emerging economies.

• The industry must engage personally with decision makers at the highest levels of government.

Scowsill applauded Mexico and South Africa as examples of countries that are embracing travel and tourism. The United States, he indicated, is starting to come around, but still has work to do.

"Where there are open doors, we will offer our advice and our best efforts to work together," Scowsill continued. "Where we find doors closed, we will knock loudly and in unison until they are eventually opened. President Calderon [of Mexico] took the time to come to the Summit to cement his support for partnership and cooperation. He provides us with an example of how an administration can be actively open for business with the travel and tourism sector.

"Over the past two days we have heard very positive words of encouragement from the U.S. administration, suggesting that there are more doors starting to open than we thought. We look forward to these positive words being turned into deeds and actions that make a real difference."

More than 900 delegates attended the 11th Global Travel & Tourism Summit; the 12th Summit is scheduled to take place in Tokyo on April 17-19, 2012.

"We thank our Japanese friends for their invitation to Tokyo in 2012 and their leadership in demonstrating the important role travel and tourism plays in bringing wealth generation and jobs back to those regions affected by unforeseen calamities," Scowsill said. "We look forward to their hospitality next year and seeing at first hand their remarkable recovery."