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WTTC unveils Theme for 2009 Global Travel & Tourism Summit

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Members of the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) met earlier this week with the Brazilian Minister of Tourism, Luiz Barretto and President of Embratur, Jeanine Pires, along with high-level representatives of the Brazilian state of Santa Catarina and other key business leaders, to unveil the theme of the 9th Global Travel & Tourism Summit: 'Real Partnerships - Energising Economies'.

Speaking at the launch event, WTTC's President and CEO Jean-Claude Baumgarten outlined WTTC's provisional estimates for the industry's economic impact in 2008 and 2009.

"The deterioration in the macroeconomic environment and the marked slowdown in the monthly indicators of tourism activity in the last months of 2008 resulted in a much more pronounced cycle in Travel & Tourism Economy GDP than envisaged in January 2008," Baumgarten said.

"The relatively resilient first-half 2008 performance, plus the lead time between holiday bookings and actual vacations, suggest the impact on growth in 2008 will have been limited," he added, "although our preliminary estimates indicate that Travel & Tourism Economy GDP increased by just 1% last year - two percentage points below our January 2008 forecast."

"The global economic impact on Travel & Tourism will nevertheless be much greater in 2009. Travel & Tourism Economy GDP is now expected to contract this year, by around 3.5%," Baumgarten said. "Moreover, even this forecast - like macroeconomic prospects generally - carries downside risks."

"There is no doubt that the Travel & Tourism Industry is facing significant challenges in the year ahead," Baumgarten warned. "And this makes public-private partnership even more critical, especially given the current economic climate and the many other uncertain variables that could affect the outlook."

The theme of the 9th Global Travel & Tourism Summit, which will be held in Santa Catarina's state capital, Florianópolis, is therefore all the more pertinent, and it has been acclaimed as an exemplary public-private partnership as it will bring together national, state and local governments from Brazil and other parts of the world, together with leaders of the private sector from every continent.

In welcoming the Summit to Brazil, Jeanine Pires, President of Embratur, said, "The Government of Brazil, Embratur, the Brazilian Ministry of Tourism and the State of Santa Catarina have partnered with WTTC to realise the world's highest-level gathering of global industry leaders to discuss ways in which the industry can overcome the economic downturn and play a role in re-energising economies worldwide."

Announcing his commitment to the Summit, Luiz Mór, the TAP Executive Board Member responsible for the Commercial, Sales, Marketing and Communications departments at TAP, the national flag carrier of Portugal said, "TAP is delighted to join the prestigious list of Summit partners and we look forward to providing the level of service and commitment to the Summit participants in which we at TAP pride ourselves."

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