WTTC 2015: WTTC-UNWTO pursued ‘frank’ talks with heads of state

WTTC 2015: WTTC-UNWTO pursued ‘frank’ talks with heads of state

The WTTC and UN World Tourism Organisation have been “frank and sometimes brutal” in speaking to governments on the importance of travel and tourism, according to WTTC head David Scowsill (pictured).

Leaders of the UNWTO and WTTC wrote an open letter to heads of state four years ago seeking meetings to discuss the sector’s contribution to economic growth and barriers to this.

The initiative led to the establishment of the Global Travel Association Coalition (GTAC) between private sector and government organisations to align the industry’s advocacy efforts.

WTTC president and chief executive Scowsill said: “In most countries power lies with the finance ministry and ultimately the head of state. The open letter was a mechanism to get in to talks.”

He said: “We have been frank, sometimes brutal, in outlining four or five points and asking heads of state to make a public announcement regarding tourism.

“It has had an impact on quite a few states.”

He added: “All the data points and messages we gave were consistent. In the past there was data everywhere. It was not consolidated.”

UNWTO secretary general Taleb Rifai said: “We agreed four or five indicators that need to be said consistently and now everyone knows them. We unify our messages.”

RIfai said: “Nothing is exclusively the responsibility of the private sector. Governments are very important.”


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