Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are being given the opportunity to join the World Travel & Tourism Council.

An associate membership has been created to provide smaller travel companies with the network and insights in the sector from the WTTC.

Benefits will include the chance to attend the annual invitation-only WTTC global summit, involvement in a dedicated online community, access to reports and regional events.

WTTC president and CEO Gloria Guevara said: “We are excited to launch this new membership category and to be able to expand to one of the most important segments in the travel and tourism sector.

“The contribution of SMEs is significant and they can benefit from WTTC and its powerful network and insights.

“The travel and tourism sector accounts for $8.8 trillion or 10.4% of global GDP, and supports 319 million jobs or one in ten of all jobs on the planet, and SMEs around the world are a crucial component of our ecosystem.”

Matthew Upchurch, CEO of Virtuoso and a member of the WTTC executive committee, added: “As a proud WTTC member and founder of an organisation that champions entrepreneurs around the world, I’m thrilled the WTTC has created this new associate membership for SMEs.

“When we tell the story of travel and tourism’s impact, these new faces will help capture the hearts and minds of governments, the press and the public.

“They will amplify the powerful diversity and force for good that travel brings to the world.”