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World Tourism Organization pleased with Australian Tourism Plans

Travel News Asia 10 June 2003

The World Tourism Organization (WTO) expressed its great satisfaction about the recently published Tourism Green Paper about the Australian tourism strategy for the next ten years.

"The World Tourism Organization would like to commend Minister Joe Hockey and his Ministry for the tabling of a comprehensive and well-focused document containing important strategy proposals for the improvement of the competitiveness and the development of Australian tourism," said WTO Deputy Secretary-General, Dr. Dawid De Villiers.

The Tourism Green Paper is noteworthy both for its farsighted vision and for the wide-ranging stakeholder consultation. It reflects an acute awareness of many critical trends that WTO research has identified and deals clearly with issues that the Organization regards as some of the high priorities for the future development of tourism.

It is also a further confirmation of the growing economic, social, and environmental impact of tourism for Australia and of the determination of the Government to ensure that it strengthens its position as a leader in this field. Two remarkable figures from the Green Paper underscore this:

- Research shows that for every dollar spent on international promotion, between 11 and 16 times is recouped from tourism visitor exports.

- In 2000/2001 promotional grants of just A$ 24 million led to some A$742 million of exports - a remarkable 30 times return.

"We warmly applaud the clear strategies to lead the re-positioning of the domestic and international tourism industry in Australia and particularly welcome the recommendation that the country takes up its rightful position inside WTO. World tourism development will benefit from the close involvement of the Commonwealth Government and its dynamic private sector - just as the research and policy framework of WTO will be a value added for Australia," said Dr. De Villiers.

According to WTO, the Green Paper is published at a most appropriate time when tourism is going through a difficult period with an obvious need to restructure and re-adjust. It is the right time to take strategic decisions regarding the future of tourism. "We look forward to work even more closely with the Australian Government and its tourism industry to create a brighter global future," added Dr. De Villiers.

In light of the transformation of WTO into a United Nations specialized agency, the WTO Executive Council has recently given the mandate to the Secretary-General to "seize the historic opportunity" to invite non-member states, such as Australia, to join the Organization. Stronger coalition would reinforce endeavours to mitigate the negative impacts on the world  tourism, caused by economic stagnation, wars, terrorist threats, and the SARS epidemic.

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