World tourism chief calls for sustainability focus

David Scowsill, the president & CEO of the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), has called on the travel and tourism sector to lead the world in the “eradication of poverty, cleaning up the oceans, and protecting habitats”. 

David Scowsill.
David Scowsill.

Speaking at the Council’s global summit in Bangkok this week, Scowsill urged more than 900 leading figures from the public and private sector to stand up and make a real difference, to think about how we can be ‘Transforming our World’.

Travel & Tourism generates more than $USD7.6 trillion globally each year, and supports over 292 million jobs, which is now 1 in 10 jobs worldwide. The sector has grown faster than the global economy consistently in the last six years.

Highlighted as a specific driver of three of the United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals, business and leisure travel will help shape the global agenda for the next 15 years.

“We are now seeing the recalibration of global politics, it is becoming clearer that the economic growth we have enjoyed over the past half century, and the globalisation that has driven it, is not working for everyone. Governments are calling into question some of the basic freedoms of people movement and trade, upon which all our businesses so depend”, Scowsill said.

Scowsill said that in the face of terrorism and natural disasters, Travel & Tourism has continued to show resilience as people continue to move around the world.

“The fear engendered by dividing us into races or religions destroys the notion that each human being is unique,” he said. “I believe wholeheartedly that closed borders lead to closed minds; that travel makes the world a better, more peaceful place, and that human encounters across cultures change us for the better.

“Travel is not for a privileged few. The world and its astonishing beauties are for everyone. We believe in the fundamental right of anyone to travel, regardless of their nationality, gender, religion, sexual orientation or age. Our sector must be accessible to all.

“This sector plays a vital part in the global quest for a more equal, inclusive and sustainable world. For our sector to continue to thrive we must focus on three elements; people need to be able to travel; we need successful businesses; and we need responsible practices,” Scowsill concluded.

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