April 3, 2009

World Tourism Organisation

Filed under: Introduction — parto @ 2:09 am

This edition of the Seminar took place, as opposed to previous editions, with the knowledge that world tourism has been negatively affected by the financial crisis over the course of the past year and that the projections for 2009 confirm the decline which started in 2008.

For this reason, an attempt has been made at evaluating the current conditions which are looming over the sector in the context of the fragile state of the world economy; the consequences that have arisen from this and the most appropriate responses that should be made.

The Seminar, which was inaugurated by the Deputy-Secretary General of UNWTO, featured the participation of various Spanish governmental tourism bodies with the Spanish Secretary of State for Tourism, as well as important representatives from other Member States of the Organization.delegates were joined by over 200 attendees from a diverse range of business
and private sector organizations from over thirty countries.
Finally, the important and valuable contributions made by the experts who were invited to speak must be acknowledged. They provided a panoramic and view of the current state of the sector, well adapted to the nature of tourism itself.

The most relevant conclusions reached during the three debates that took place are summarised here:

1. The tourism sector has displayed enormous strength when faced
with severe difficulties in previous years; however this crisis is
distinct and appears to be even more serious than ever before. The
gravity of this crisis is due to multiple inter-related factors and is
intrinsically connected with a profound structural crisis in the global
economy. This is occurring at the same time as tensions are arising
in vital life systems (water, climate…) and in the availability of some
basic resources (oil, food,…).

2. The main challenge at this is time is not to lose perspective. It’s
essential to work on current problems but with a long term
perspective developed in line with the UN Millennium Development
Goals.

3. Given its global dimension, tourism is not about to disappear and
people will not stop travelling; however the paradigms in which this
activity exists are mostly likely to change substantially over the next
few years. The future is going to be very different. We have a great
opportunity to revive the sector and lead the change for a new
model of tourism which will ensure a better future for all.

4. Tourism will survive the crisis however, the crisis will significant
negative consequences, most of all from an employment point of
view. Governments must play their part by continuing to invest in
the sector, taking into account its significant value as an export and
its potential to lead the way out of the current crisis. The tourism
activity generated by this investment must reflect new
environmental challenges, the availability of essential resources and
a demand for a more ethical and responsible approach to tourism
which cannot be postponed.

5. At times of high uncertainty, such as now, we should open the door
to new opportunities. For example: improving the quality of
services, destinations and products. Now is also the time to put
leadership and good business management to the test.
6. It is consumers who are currently in an advantageous position and,
as such, businesses should do their utmost to gain their confidence
by committing themselves to the following: improving quality;
competing better to maintain their market positions by means of
flexible pricing, optimizing the use of new technologies or increasing
profit from existing customers.

7. So as not to avoid negative perceptions, a crucial means of gaining
the consumers’ trust is to diffuse high quality analysis of current
tendencies at all times.

8. Whichever responses to the crisis are implemented and whatever
their geographical scope, seeking new business alliances as well as
strengthening the dialogue and cooperation between public and
private actors is highly advisable and must be insisted upon.

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