London, UK — The voice of the world’s 100 foremost Travel & Tourism leaders, the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) is calling for governments and organisations such as the United Nations, European Commission, G8 and G20, to re-examine the way policies that affect global Travel& Tourism are co-ordinated and implemented.
“Yet again the importance of Travel & Tourism, and the influence it has on nearly every facet of our lives, has gone unappreciated by governments,” says Jean-Claude Baumgarten, President & CEO of (WTTC). “At least until a crisis occurs, as the past week has demonstrated. This crisis has been handled with the mentality of the early 20th century, without recognising the needs of 21st century travel.”
Governments should be working together, with all sectors of the industry, to identify ahead of time measures to ensure the sustainable growth of an economy that represents 9.2% of world GDP and employs 235 million people.
Although the effect of the volcanic ash cloud continues to lessen and a more reasonable approach to airspace restrictions is now being implemented, many travellers remain stranded overseas. The Travel & Tourism industry is still suffering from the loss of business, plus the cost of repatriating its customers, and it will be some time before it returns to normal.
It is still too early to assess the full economic impact of the problem, but there is likely to be serious implications for all sectors. Legislation that could help the industry recover and grow is controlled through many different places and sometimes restricts trade rather than benefits it.
An important step forward, says Baumgarten, would be the introduction of centralised air traffic control for the whole of Europe, which could reduce the need for blanket bans on flights in the future.
“It is time,” Baumgarten continues “that the European Commission gets its act together, stops regulating misshapen fruit, and starts creating consistent legislation for an industry that can truly benefit the world’s economies as we come out of recession.”
WTTC is urging the world’s leaders to attend its 10th annual Global Travel & Tourism Summit in Beijing, China from 25-27 May 2010. The event is the perfect opportunity for leaders of government to come to the table with the leaders of private-sector organisations and understand what can be done to ensure the health of the industry in the 21st century.
“Now that air restrictions are being lifted, let’s hope that Travel & Tourism can quickly get back to normal and enjoy a successful summer season.”