Published on May 17th, 2012 | by Mark Chesnut
Travel and Tourism Could Create 5 Million New Jobs: Mexico President Calderon
|The Grand Velas Riviera Maya resort, near Playa del Carmen, Mexico, is the setting for the Americas Summit, hosted by the World Travel & Tourism Council.|
BY MARK CHESNUT
I’m currently covering the Americas Summit, a major conference organized by the World Travel & Tourism Council. This is my first report from the event.
Travel and Tourism could create an additional five million new jobs worldwide in just a few years — that was the message driven home in a presentation today by Mexican President Felipe Calderón Hinojosa and David Scowsill, president and CEO of the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC).
The comments were made during The Presidential Perspective and T20 Update sessions at the Americas Summit, a WTTC event taking place this week at the luxurious Grand Velas Riviera Maya resort, near Playa del Carmen in Mexico’s Riviera Maya region.
In the Presidential Perspective, CBS Travel Editor Peter Greenberg interviewed President Calderón, who spoke about his recent participation in T20, a conference that took place May 15 and 16 with tourism ministers from 20 of the most developed economies in the world. “The message must be that tourism means jobs and economic growth,” he told Greenberg. President Calderón was the first head of state to join the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and WTTC in a joint campaign to highlight the importance of travel and tourism to global growth and development.
“The most important question of the G20,” said Calderon, referring to the global summit that takes place in Los Cabos in June, “is what are the measures to improve economic growth, especially [given] the disasters of the current economic crisis.”
A key to solving the world’s economic woes, according to President Calderón, is investment in travel and tourism, which he said is currently responsible for two million jobs in Mexico alone.
David Scowsill then struck a similar tone in his comments to delegates, noting that travel and tourism is responsible for 9% of the world’s GDP, 255 million jobs and $6 trillion in revenue — but potential must be exploited further. “An extra five million jobs could be created over a three-year period,” he said.
A key to enabling greater growth in the sector is visa reform, Scowsill noted. “The burdensome visa process is holding back tourism,” he told delegates.
During the session for the update of the T20, Taleb Rifai, Secretary-General of the UNWTO, noted the contradictory positions taken by many nations, who spend money to promote tourism “and then we spend more money in preventing people coming to our countries. It doesn’t make sense. Do we want people to come to our countries or don’t we want people to come?”