Tourism’s coming of age puts the sector in a position of global responsibility to face challenges ranging from climate change to social inclusion. These remarks were made by the World Tourism Organisation Secretary General, Mr. Zurab Pololikasvili during the official opening of the International Tourism Bourse (ITB) in Berlin, Germany.
“Tourism has come of age. It is one of the top five economic sectors in the world, and one of the fastest growing. This week, Berlin is our home and the world capital of tourism,” said Zurab Pololikasvili.
Adding that, “tourism’s growth unlike almost any other economic sector offers the economic and social resilience needed in times of uncertainty.”
These remarks coincide with UNWTO’s special 2019 focus on education, skills and jobs, a joint task among all tourism stakeholders to enhance the competitiveness and sustainability of tourism destinations.
“Tourism is a key economic activity, it’s part of global economic integration & provides hundreds of thousands of jobs,” said Peter Altmaier, Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy.
With international arrivals reaching 1.4 billion in 2018, the UNWTO Secretary-General underscored how tourism “keeps growing ahead of the world economy, which we almost doubled last year”.
The UNWTO Secretary General appreciated support for tourism from the highest political level in the Germany government.
Mr Pololikasvili was cognizant of the fact that “big numbers also entail big responsibilities,” adding that, to “grow better” has been UNWTO’s constant message over the past year.
He requested for private sector commitment and appropriate public sector governance to ensure that tourism can deliver on its wide sustainability potential but was also mindful that “tourism’ cannot prosper in isolation and therefore needs partnerships and collaboration to strive, so that everybody wins.”
The opening of ITB 2019 was also chaired by the Mayor of Berlin, Michael Müller, who said that, “more than 180 countries, 10,000 exhibitors & 100,000 trade visitors will participate at #ITB2019 proving the prominent role tourism has on the development of Berlin. Berlin stands for openness and that is the spirit of tourism.”
Others present were the Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture of Malaysia, Datuk Mohamaddin bin Ketapi, representing this year’s ITB partner country, the CEO of Messe Berlin, Christian Göke, and the President of the Federal Association of the German Tourism Industry, Michael Frenzel.