The tourism industry continues to be amongst the most
dynamic economic sectors, generating a wide range of benefits including
a growing contribution to GDP, in some cases over 10%, and substantial
foreign exchange earnings.
Tourism as a reliable tool for sustainable job
creation was at the centre of the 5th UNWTO International
Conference on Tourism Statistics (Bali, Indonesia, 30 March-2
April), attended by around 450 participants from 70 countries and
nine international organizations.
Tourism plays a crucial role in the creation of
employment, which is especially important during the current
economic crisis. The key challenges are to establish sustainable
policies to enhance both the quantity and quality of employment in
the tourism industry.
Participants in the conference underscored the
importance of public-private cooperation, particularly in the
framework of advancing the Decent Work Agenda promoted by the
International Labour Organization (ILO, a key partner of UNWTO
within the UN family). In this regard it was agreed to both
protect and promote the Tourism Satellite Account (TSA) as a
powerful brand which should be carefully developed and applied for
the measurement of tourism’s contribution to developed and
developing economies alike.
UNWTO’s Secretary-General ad interim Taleb Rifai
said that “It’s crucial that we offer technical assistance to our
Member States to enable them to measure how many jobs tourism
generates in the economy, tourism’s contribution to GDP, and
tourism’s ranking in comparison with other sectors of the
The International Conference on Tourism
Statistics coincided with the efforts of the G20, meeting in
London, UK, to stimulate the global economy. The TSA further
underscores the potential of tourism and travel in any stimulus
package and the shift towards a green economy.
Against this background, Mr. Rifai added that
“In many countries, tourism has suffered from a lack of political
and popular support because its true economic significance has
often been underestimated. Now there is increasing awareness of
tourism’s role as a productive activity and its potential to
generate employment, government income and other benefits whether
directly or through induced effects in the economy. This is
increasingly important due to the role tourism can play in
combating the current crisis.”
The Conference was jointly organized by UNWTO
and the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of the Republic of
Indonesia, with the support of the UN Statistics Division (UNSD),
the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), the ILO and
the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
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