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Tourism and the Global Recession

The 5th UNWTO International Conference on Tourism Statistics – Tourism: An Engine for Employment Creation took place in the spring of 2009 in Bali. The Conference was organized by UNWTO and by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of the Republic of Indonesia. It was also supported by other organizations.

The speakers agreed that the tourism sector is an important employer and contributor to national GDPs. Its role is especially important during the current global economic crisis. The participants emphasized that public – private cooperation is quite essential for further development of the sector. They also agreed on further promotion and protection of the Tourism Satellite Account (TSA). The TSA is a statistical accountant framework for measurement of the economic contributions of tourism which allows comparisons from country to country.

According to the Taleb Rifai, Deputy Secretary-General of the UNWTO, it is crucial to offer technical assistance to Member States so that they can measure how many jobs tourism generates and how much does it contribute to their national GDP. Mr. Taleb Rifai also says that nowadays there is a rising awareness of tourism as an important part of the economy. In the past the tourism industry was often underestimated and there was no political will to further develop the sector. This has changed and now the industry may efficiently help fight off the impacts of the economic crisis.

As the tourism industry is vital for some countries’ economies according to the experts it is important to include it in the stimulus packages. It is a significant sector even in G20 countries, where it creates 5 per cent of GDP and 6 per cent of jobs. Tourism is also the main growth and trade driver for the world’s poorest countries.

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