Nothing appears to deflect travel and tourism from its ability to grow ahead of the global economy, argues WTTC president and chief executive David Scowsill
The 2015 World Travel and Tourism Council Global Summit in Madrid has been a fantastic and informative two days.
We have reflected on the constant and massive external disruptions to this industry.
We have seen how consolidation and reinvention is happening everywhere, as businesses in our industry meet the constant curve of change.
Whether that change involves incumbent companies adapting their business models or new players doing battle with local and federal governments on taxation, our industry is forever in a state of evolution. And world events continue to throw at us new scenarios, new challenges and fresh opportunities.
In recent days we have witnessed the historic and public thawing of relationships between US and Cuba. It heralds an era of collaboration with enormous potential for commercial reinvention between the two nations.
That is in stark contrast to the current events in Venezuela, a country with the largest oil reserves in the world.
It is tragic to see the deterioration and civil unrest of this extraordinary, vibrant country. We all want to see this nation reinvent itself, in a way that would bring new prosperity and growth to its people.
Tomorrow will bring new global events, new situations, new disruptions for us. But what we have learned in these past two days is that this industry has a constant ability to re-invent itself.
Nothing deflects our ability to grow faster than most other sectors and ahead of the global economy.
As we move towards a figure of 1.8 billion travellers by 2030, we have seen how strategically important it is for both public and private enterprise to invest in infrastructure.
We have learned, through the Global Travel Association Coalition, to speak with the power and authority of one voice on such important issues.
And as travel and tourism grows and spreads to every part of the world, we continue to be vigilant to the needs of our planet and our environment.
Growth opens up new experiences and opportunity, but it brings with it an urgent need for stewardship and resourcefulness.
Underpinning all this is the indisputable fact that our future depends on people:
Be they voters around the world, who elect the governments that we talk to.
Be they customers and consumers, who research, purchase and share their travel experiences.
Be they entrepreneurs, who bring new ideas to reinvent and refresh the market place.
Be they future employees, who we must recruit, train and nurture to have the right skills for tomorrow.
Be they the business leaders, who cannot predict disruption but have to continually plan for it.
Be they the people who attended our Summit, WTTC members, who must continue to influence and steer our industry through the turbulence of disruption and into the resolve of reinvention.
We need to continue to forge partnerships and understanding at the highest levels of government.
We need to engage and listen, sharing the powerful messages that this industry needs to convey.
We need to continue to find new ways to measure, reaffirm and endorse all the positive things our industry brings to the world.
We must continue, in this extraordinary era of disruption, to be true ambassadors of reinvention – ensuring that travel and tourism continues to grow, to prosper and to improve people’s lives the world over.
That is our duty and that is our privilege.
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