The tourism sector’s role and responsibility in
contributing to sustainable development on a global scale was the
central message delivered at the opening of this year’s ITB Berlin
by Zurab Pololikashvili,
Secretary-General of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).
Speaking in the presence of German
Chancellor Angela Merkel, tourism ministers from around the world
and the leaders of the tourism sector, Mr. Pololikashvili stressed
how tourism not only needs to consolidate current growth rates,
but “to grow better”.
In 2017, international tourist
numbers grew a record 7% to reach 1.3 billion. UNWTO’s message
underlines the need to turn these figures into benefits for all
people and all communities.
“Tourism’s sustained growth
brings immense opportunities for economic welfare and
development,” said the UNWTO Secretary-General, while warning at
the same time that it also brings in many challenges. “Adapting to
the challenges of safety and security, constant market changes,
digitalization and the limits of our natural resources should be
priorities in our common action.”
Speaking at the
opening were the Federal Chancellor Dr. Angela Merkel, the
Governing Mayor of Berlin Michael Müller, the President of the
Federal Association of the German Tourism Industry (BTW) Dr.
Michael Frenzel, the Minister-President of Mecklenburg- Vorpommern
Manuela Schwesig and Dr. Christian Göke, CEO of Messe Berlin.
“Tourism is an example of the opportunities of globalisation.
Tourism brings people closer together and creates the foundation
for growth” said Chancellor Angela Merkel. “We are committed to
the Agenda 2030. We are committed to sustainable tourism.”
The UNWTO Secretary-General stressed education and job
creation, innovation and technology, safety and security; and
sustainability and climate change as the priorities for the sector
to consolidate its contribution to sustainable development and the
2030 Agenda, against the backdrop of its expansion in all world
regions and the socio-economic impact this entails.
address these issues, Mr. Pololikashvili concluded that
“public/private cooperation as well as public/public coordination
must be strengthened, in order to translate tourism growth into
more investment, more jobs and better livelihoods”.