The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) second Americas Summit, which will once again unite Travel & Tourism leaders from across the whole region, bringing together top representatives from the public and private sectors, NGOs and the media in a unique networking and discussion forum. Building on the success of the first Americas Summit in Riviera Maya in 2012, this Summit in Lima, Peru will attract an audience of private and public sector tourism leaders from across South America, Central America, The Caribbean, and North America.
Travel & Tourism plays a very important role in economies across the Americas. Regionally, the industry generates US$269 billion in exports, contributes 8.5% of GDP and supports 1 in 11 jobs. The agenda of the Americas Summit will focus not only on the traditional intra-regional flows of business in the Americas – but also on the robust recovery of the inbound market, fuelled by the growth of BRIC nations. Speakers will include Chief Executives from regional and global hotel companies, airlines, tour operators and online travel agencies; regional and G20 Ministers of Tourism; high level representatives from the NGO sector and opinion-formers from academia and the media.
Presentations of best practice from inside and outside the region will be combined with lively debates around future trends and current policies. The profound words of President Bill Clinton at an earlier WTTC Summit resonate through our industry: “At a time of continued economic uncertainty and geopolitical instability somewhere in the world, Travel & Tourism has emerged as not only an engine of job creation and economic prosperity but also as a force for good – bringing peace and understanding to the world”.
Attendance at The Americas Summit is complimentary and by invitation only, and is intended exclusively for those holding the most senior positions in Travel & Tourism in the public and private sector, and for related media. The World Travel & Tourism Council is grateful to the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Tourism of the Republic of Peru for hosting the Americas Summit 2014 in the wonderful location of Lima, Peru.
Americas Summit Programme
Travel & Tourism in the Americas is at a critical moment – be it in the recovering economies of the north, the mature but struggling Travel & Tourism destinations in the Caribbean or the excitement of the emerging markets in the south. In particular in Latin America, financial stability, a growing middle class and its rich and diverse natural and cultural resources have contributed to steady growth of the sector. A strong internal market, economic recovery in the USA and Europe, and the growth of new markets in Asia now offer massive opportunities.
The key question is – how can the combined strengths of the sector come together now to leverage more sustainable growth for the region? While some destinations prosper, others struggle. How can collaboration solve problems that market forces alone can’t address? How can competitiveness be strengthened through collaboration? How can the Americas keep up with growing destinations in Asia?
Over the course of a day and a half, through a series of keynotes, panel sessions and interviews, the most pressing questions facing Travel & Tourism in the Americas today will be addressed. Participants will identify what needs to be done now to ensure the long term sustainable future of the sector.
Travelling Towards 2024: The future of Travel & Tourism in the Americas
Travel & Tourism in the Americas is on the rise. But what will it look like in ten years’ time? Where will growth be focused? Which sectors and regions will be the winners and losers and why? What are the common challenges across the region? Which are the new markets to exploit? What are the risks posed by climate change, political instability and economic mismanagement? How is the relationship between the USA and Latin America evolving?
Government and business: partnership and progress
Governments and tourism ministers come and go, but the issues stay the same. How can countries break the cycle and foster real partnership between the public and private sectors? The USA and Mexico have already implemented frameworks for improving collaboration and cross-government co-operation; can these models be replicated elsewhere? What has been critical to the success of these initiatives? Is a sustainable future possible without public-private sector collaboration?
Financing the future: Strategies for investment
Future success will need strategic investment. Where is investment needed most and where will it come from? What are the bottlenecks in infrastructure and finance that are holding back growth? How can foreign and domestic direct investment be increased and what is slowing it down? How can countries channel investment into Travel & Tourism? What is the role of high profile cultural or sporting events to catalyze investment? What is being done to encourage green growth and innovation?
Open Skies: Dream or Reality?
Many countries in the region are still heavily restrictive in their aviation policies. Will governments ever change their attitude? How can airlines be more efficient in their operations despite policy challenges? To what extent can the private sector really get involved with airport development? What are the models already in existence?
Digital Travellers: The Now Generation
Digital travellers represent the Now Generation. They are tech savvy and heavy internet, mobile and social users. Always connected, digital travellers use a variety of platforms to research, plan, book and share their travel experiences. Instantaneous real time access to information and flexibility of service is the expectation. How can tourism businesses provide products and services to this expanding Digital Traveller market? In the ever evolving field of technology how can businesses in the Travel and Tourism sector not only keep up but actually stay ahead of their demands? What opportunities does the digital journey offer to businesses that truly understand these trends and don’t just react to these new customer trends, but anticipate them?
Appreciating the asset: the value of cultural heritage
The definition of cultural heritage is evolving from the legacy of sites and curios to a wider and more complex definition embracing language, peoples and cuisine. What does not change, however, is the importance of cultural heritage to the economic, social and spiritual growth of a country. How does cultural heritage contribute to visitor exports? Is it really understood for the asset that it is? How does cultural heritage contribute to a distinct and competitive tourism product? How can our industry best champion ways to promote protect and develop the asset of cultural heritage, for the good of the destination and its visitors, past, present and future?
Sustainable tourism: leading by example
From the Amazon rainforest to Machu Picchu, the snow peaks of the Rockies to the beaches of the Caribbean, the future of the environment and the communities who inhabit it are vital to Travel & Tourism’s success. What is the business case for sustainability? What are the examples to be replicated? How can sustainability be better monitored and communicated? Is enough being done to preserve biodiversity, address climate change and manage water resources? Are communities and young people fully engaged in tourism development? What are the innovations that will be game changers?
Source & Photos: World Travel & Tourism Council: wttc.org
Our Society for Sustainable Tourism & Development Inc. -SSTDI offers Capacity Building and Training programs to public and private stakeholders, host communities and grassroots in sustainable tourism development & stewardship to include Good Governance, Climate Change Mitigation , Disaster Preparedness and Management. Waste to Energy projects are offered to LGUs for their ecological solidwaste management and renewable energy solutions. For more information and assistance, contact us.
Sustainability Guru Asia Pacific was honored to be part of the invite-only World Travel & Tourism Council -WTTC- Global Summit Japan in Sendai & Tokyo. Summit reports started with the Tourism for Tomorrow 2012 Awards & Winners. The following is a re-post from the WTTC 2012 News & updates starting with the First Session in Sendai, Japan.
“We are here to hear what we have learnt from the crisis,” said Mr Takamatsu, CEO, Japan Tourism Marketing Company, and session moderator. “The objective of this session is to look at the best ways to manage a crisis with case studies from Japan, but also other countries and the Travel & Tourism industry,” he added.
Given the events of the last decade – from America on September 11 2001 to Japan on 11 March 2011, dealing with the unusual is increasingly becoming business as usual in the Travel & Tourism industry.
According to the Annual Global Climate and Catastrophe Report published by Impact Forecasting, 2011 was one of the most active years on record in terms of instances of natural catastrophes, so there has never been a more pressing time to consider crisis management and disaster recovery.
Japan has learnt a lot since March 2011, Mr Idee, Commissioner, Japan Tourism Agency (JTA), Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism told delegates. “I can tell you that [after the earthquake and tsunami], the government immediately took measures to ensure that the region was safe from radiation and that there was total security regarding food safety.
We have also undertaken a wide range of measures to try encourage a recovery in demand, using high-profile visitors like Lady Gaga to help us in our promotions. And we are grateful to UNWTO and the United Nations generally for issuing reassurances to the world that Japan is open for business. I would like to express my gratitude to them for these measures.
We were delighted to see that WTTC’s latest report suggests that Japan’s Travel & Tourism recovery will be better than expected, with the percentage drop in inbound tourism in 2012 projected to be down in single digits over Japan’s peak tourism year in 2010”.
“Destination Tohoku” campaigns in foreign countries such as the United States help, and we are focusing on the travel trade – tour operator and travel agents – to communicate our messages. But we are promoting domestic as well as inbound tourism.
Mr Ogata, Vice Chairman, East Japan Railway Company told the Summit that in 50 years of operating the Shinkansen (Japanese “bullet-train”) there had never been an associated fatal casualty. JR East is the largest railway company in Japan – with 4,700 miles of network and 17 million passengers a day on 13,000 trains. Its top priority is safety.
Many lessons from past experiences of earthquakes, e.g. the use of reinforced pillars, early earthquake detection systems, seismometers, preventing trains from large-scale deviations, plus the education and training of its staff have secured a dramatic decrease in accidents. But in addition to taking countermeasures, it is essential to utilise innovative risk assessments. As a result, on 11 March 2011, there were no customer fatalities or injuries – though because of aftershocks, it took 50 days to restore full operation.
There were lots of lessons learned: e.g. even more early detection systems needed – plus better evacuation systems, and a strengthening of electrification masts.
Bert van Walbeek, Chairman of PATA’s Rapid Recovery Taskforce, and Managing Director, The Winning Edge gave the Summit “Five Points in Five Minutes”:
• Educate and train all stakeholders • Accept joint responsibility
• Respect and understand ‘Mother Nature’
• Co-operate on travel advisories
• We all need to work together to address the problem, in terms of crisis management and prevention.
Dirk Glaesser, Coordinator, Risk and Crisis Management, UNWTO reminded the Summit that whilst crises do occur, it’s the way we prepare for them and manage them that is critical. UNWTO works not just through United Nations systems but also through TERN – the Tourism Emergency Research Network, which groups together public and private sector organisations and associations involved in tourism. “The whole purpose of TERN is sharing knowledge and best practice, and communicating between partner organisations/associations and the outside world, through media,.
It’s all about planning and preparedness,” said Glaesser, “the importance of correct assumptions and strategic contingency planning.”
In the Panel Discussion which followed, Raymond N Bickson, Managing Director & CEO, Taj Hotels Resorts & Palaces, said: “ Whether natural disaster or terrorist attack or other man-made disasters, including health concerns like H1N1 and bird flu, the crisis management tools are all very similar across the board. What helps recovery is the public and private sectors working together – plus India has its own national chapter of WTTC and this has helped us enormously.”
Robert Laurence Noddin, CEO and Representative in Japan, AIU Insurance Company, Japan Branch, told the story of the Japanese crisis from the insurance industry standpoint: “ We had to overcome or deal with three major issues: impact on transportation, getting support to customers and staff; and the availability of data and how to use, controland communicate it. The sheer scale of the disaster meant that there was huge damage, so we needed to call on an unprecedented number of support staff to assess the damages”.
The Summit then listened attentively to the story as told by Mrs. Noriko Abe, the “Okami” of Minami-Sanriku Hotel Kanyo. Her story was a wonderful example of a member of the Travel & Tourism industry taking the initiative to help the community – in the aftermath some people had no accommodation, no food, no clothes. How to help them? “We had to help them. There was total confusion and incomprehension as to why this had happened to them. We offered support to 600 citizens – we started a school inside the hotel. Without help, we risked some of the younger Japanese leaving the community to go and live elsewhere. Or even committing suicide out of desperation, especially young mothers. Soour help in fact was a way of rebuilding the community and giving people a reason for living”. On the basis of this closing presentation, the first session of the first day of the Sendai Forum drew the conclusion thatTourism is not often seen as the cement of community solidarity, but it should be. It’s something very human, and can really help when crises strike.
Our Society for Sustainable Tourism & Development Inc.- SSTDI supports the World Travel & Tourism Council’s Environment Initiative. SSTDI offers Capacity Building and Training programs to public and private stakeholders, host communities and grassroots in sustainable tourism development & stewardship to include Good Governance, Climate Change Mitigation , Disaster Preparedness and Management. Waste to Energy projects are offered to LGUs for their ecological solidwaste management and renewable energy solutions. For more information and assistance, contact us.