Time to recog­nise tourism’s sub­stan­tive value

Jamaica Gleaner - - OPINION & COMMENTARY - Janet Silvera Se­nior Gleaner Writer janet.silvera@glean­erjm.com

Min­is­ter of Tourism Ed­mund Bartlett ad­dress­ing the UNWTO ple­nary ses­sion.

– Bartlett

WEST­ERN BUREAU: ITH A fore­cast growth of 3.3 per cent to­wards gross do­mes­tic prod­uct (GDP) in 2016, chair­man of the Af­fil­i­ate Mem­bers of the World Tourism Or­gan­i­sa­tion (UNWTO) Ed­mund Bartlett is call­ing for gov­ern­ments to recog­nise the tourism in­dus­try’s sub­stan­tive value.

Ad­dress­ing the 38th ple­nary ses­sion of the UNWTO Af­fil­i­ate Mem­bers in Ar­me­nia, west­ern Asia, last week, Bartlett said the time had come to recog­nise tourism’s value to de­vel­op­ment and to take se­ri­ously the enor­mous worth of the in­dus­try in achiev­ing the promised nir­vana.

The UNWTO Af­fil­i­ate Mem­bers chair­man called for a more in­tense push to de­velop ad­di­tional syn­er­getic in­no­va­tive pro­grammes that will help to pop­u­larise the im­por­tance of tourism to de­vel­op­ment plan­ning.

His call comes against the back­drop of the re­cently re­leased World Travel and Tourism (WTTC), an­nual up­date, ti­tled ‘The Eco­nomic Im­pact of Travel and Tourism’.

“In 2015, travel and tourism, in to­tal, contributed US$7.2 tril­lion to world GDP (9.8 per cent of the global GDP),” stated Bartlett, ex­plain­ing that the sec­tor sup­ported 284 mil­lion jobs, or one in 11 jobs in the world.

Travel and tourism, he said, grew by 3.1 per cent in 2015. This marked the sixth con­sec­u­tive year of pos­i­tive growth for the sec­tor. “The sec­tor’s con­tri­bu­tion to GDP is fore­cast to grow by 3.3 per cent in 2016,” he re­vealed.

In fact, all world sub­re­gions ex­pe­ri­enced

Wgrowth in travel and tourism GDP, with the Caribbean re­port­ing an in­crease of 5.1 per cent.

ECO­NOMIC COSTS OF TER­ROR­ISM

His pre­sen­ta­tion, which delved deeply into the im­pact of ter­ror­ism on the tourism sec­tor, ac­knowl­edged the far-reach­ing im­pact th­ese at­tacks have had on coun­tries such as Tur­key, France, Egypt, and Tu­nisia, which have ex­pe­ri­enced de­cline in vis­i­tor arrivals from 11 per cent to 20 per cent in the last year.

The eco­nomic costs of vi­o­lence con­tain­ment on the global econ­omy in­creased, he said, at an es­ti­mated $13.7 tril­lion in 2012 and $14.3 tril­lion in 2014, or 13.4 per cent of the world GDP – ac­cord­ing to the Global Peace Index Re­port 2015 (In­sti­tute for Eco­nom­ics and Peace).

“The WTTC re­ported that the global eco­nomic costs of ter­ror­ism reached $52.9 bil­lion in 2014, the high­est ever, up from $ 32.9 bil­lion in 2013,” stated Bartlett.

Bartlett is not dis­heart­ened, how­ever, and, in ref­er­enc­ing Har­vard Univer­sity pro­fes­sor, Joseph Nye, he said the truth was that “tourism can be seen as a type of ‘soft power’, which is the abil­ity to shape the pref­er­ences of oth­ers through ap­peal and at­trac­tion”.

The UNWTO Af­fil­i­ate Mem­bers are based in more than 80 coun­tries, com­pris­ing pri­vate and pub­lic-sec­tor com­pa­nies, des­ti­na­tions, non­govern­men­tal or­gan­i­sa­tions, ed­u­ca­tional in­sti­tu­tions or bod­ies whose ac­tiv­i­ties are re­lated to tourism.

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