The importance of travel and tourism as a driver of jobs, growth and economic recovery has been recognised for the first time by G20 world leaders.
This is being seen as the culmination of long-term efforts by the industry, led by the World Travel & Tourism Council and the UN World Travel Organisation to encourage global leaders to see the potential of the industry to create millions of new jobs and billions of dollars of GDP.
The Leaders’ Declaration at the annual meeting of the G20 held in Los Cabos, Mexico, says: “We recognise the role of travel and tourism as a vehicle for job creation, economic growth and development, and, while recognising the sovereign right of states to control the entry of foreign nationals, we will work towards developing travel facilitation initiatives in support of job creation, quality work, poverty reduction and global growth.”
Speaking after the publication of the declaration, UNWTO secretary-general, Taleb Rifai and WTTC president and chief executive David Scowsill said:
“We commend the G20 world leaders for recognising the importance of travel and tourism as a driver of economic growth and job creation for the first time and stand ready to support all efforts by the G20 countries in this respect.
“This is a significant success for the industry, facilitated by the relationship between our two organisations and widely supported throughout the industry.
“By facilitating visas, the G20 countries stand to gain five million jobs at a time of rampant unemployment across the world. These are in addition to the hundreds of millions of direct and indirect jobs already being supported every day by the sector.”
Facilitating visas for these tourists, many from some of the world’s fastest growing source markets such as the BRICs, could stimulate demand, spending and ultimately create millions of new jobs in the G20 economies, according to the two bodies.
The industry will directly contribute $2 trillion in GDP and 100 million jobs to the global economy in 2012. When the wider economic impacts of the industry are taken into account, travel and tourism is forecast to contribute some $6.5 trillion to the global economy and generate 260 million jobs – or 1 in 12 of all jobs on the planet.
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