‘Incredible and amazing India’
As the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) appoints its first female head and their first CEO from Latin America, TRAVTALK in an exclusive interview discusses India from a global perspective and highlights the importance of developing tourism products a
Recognised as one of the most influential women in Mexico, Gloria Guevara Manzo, President & CEO, World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), has a professional career that has given her an opportunity to work in the private sector, the government and the academia. Manzo believes that a deep understanding can help bridge the gap among various interests.
“I had the opportunity to work in the private sector and in government. I know how governments deal with tourism and travel and I know the approach of the private sector. I believe, by working together we can find solutions to help strengthen and grow the industry,” says Manzo.
Speaking the language of the government, private sector and the academia, Manzo says. “My vision is to move this organisation forward and take it to the next level. One of my core aims is to continue the partnership between the private sector and the government bodies. We will continue to work closely with UNWTO and represent the private sector worldwide. At the same time, we will help the cooperation between the private sector and the government with educated plans, well-tailored to specific regions and destinations. In other words, we’ll have a more specific regional agenda so that we can move forward and continue supporting the different needs and requirements of our industry.”
Further, explaining the agenda of growing regional tourism and focusing on specific areas, Manzo believes that it is important to develop tourism products around a region - supported by the necessary infrastructure - so that tourism can follow.
Having visited India and discussing the country in particular, she says, “When we look at India, it is very interesting, the total contribution of travel and tourism to India’s GDP was 9.6 per cent of the GDP in 2016, and is forecast to rise by 6.7 per cent in 2017. This growth is nearly double of the average GDP of 4 per cent, which is a huge accomplishment.”
In 2016, the industry was 9.3 per cent of total employment. This is expected to rise by 1.8 per cent in 2017 and rise by 2 per cent per annum till in 2027. “I believe India is on the right path in terms of growth. Which is wonderful, this means a lot more jobs. Last year, there were 40.3 million direct and indirect jobs in tourism. This means that the industry in India is the second largest employer for travel and tourism globally. Today, the country has large resources and wonderful people and a huge upside to further grow tourism. I believe, India can be in the top few destinations in the world. India is amazing, the 'Incredible India' campaign speaks volumes with its planning and execution.”
Manzo discusses some of the successfully implemented strategies in her home country of Mexico as a good example for developing economies. “There are a few things that need to be considered for a growing economy, visa is an important factor but we need to look at connectivity, infrastructure and the product offering. In Mexico, we realised that we were not very well diversified, we understood that we were depending very heavily on one product, like the beaches. We then decided to promote culture and other attractions. Post the H1NI flu crises in Mexico, we started accepting a valid US visa and saw our tourists number raise by 1.8 million visitors. India’s new visa offerings are a great move but it’s going to take time before you reap the benefits. In Mexico, we also introduced certifications for cleanliness and sustainability. This helped address the problem of hygienic food and drinking water. I know this is a concern in India as well.”
Manzo was appointed Mexico’s Minister for Tourism in 2010 and this role brought her to India. “In India, I met a lot of smiling people and felt very welcomed. India is very unique and important. India is amazing, offering everything from culture to history, nature and even adventure. The products and experiences are available. It just needs to be communicated more. Now, it’s a matter of developing more infrastructure and connectivity and working on product specifications and showcasing experiences India has to offer”.
Looking at the other side of the coin, India’s increasing outbound tourism is a sign that the economy is growing. “When you see more people travelling, it’s a sign that the disposable income is increasing. India’s domestic travel market is also very interesting. There is a big opportunity in this sector, and India’s numbers are very impressive.”
WTTC has seen growth in the industry, despite the various challenges like terrorism and security. The industry continues growing and is very resilient. “The world that we live in today, has many challenges that cannot be isolated. Our industry is very resilient, travellers know that they need to protect themselves but will continue to travel, to enjoy, to learn new cultures and visit new places. I believe we can use the technology available to provide increased security. If we share information and work together, we can facilitate a path so that the technology can be used to increase security, thus, increasing travellers and as a result, increasing jobs.” The ongoing terrorism issues make it even more important for both in the public and private sector to work together.
Addressing regional concerns and working closely with various governments, while making the most of technology, will be key for WTTC under the new leadership. Creating initiatives, working with the private sector, increasing connectivity, investing in a destination and working very closely to grow the product and develop the brand, are highly recommended for growing economies to attract higher tourist numbers. WTTC, one of the world’s largest travel industry organisations, will continue working very closely with UNWTO and further the cause of tourism. “This partnership is fundamental and very important. However, there are some countries where we need to do something more.” The WTTC works closely with non-UNWTO members including the UK and USA. “We have an agenda for specific regions. We want to strengthen our regional connect and help countries grow together. Our initiatives are for the needs of tourism such as more security and work closely with the government to create more jobs. More tourists, means more jobs,” adds Manzo.
We will continue to work closely with UNWTO and represent the private sector ector worldwide. At the same time, we willll help the cooperation between the private sector and the government with regions and destinations. Gloria Guevara Manzo nzo President & CEO World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) TC) India’s domestic travel market is also very interesting. There is a big opportunity in this sector, and India’s numbers are very impressive I believe India can be in the top few destinations in the world. India is amazing, the 'Incredible India' campaign speaks volumes with its planning and execution
India's travel and tourism sector was also the fastest growing amongst the G20 countries, growing by 8.5 per cent in 2016. A further 6.7 per cent growth is forecast for 2017. WTTC says India's figures are predominantly generated by domestic travel, which accounts for 88 per cent of the sector's contribution to GDP in 2016.