WTO forum encourages greater participation of tourism in trade policy

Geneva: The World Trade Organization (WTO), the International Trade Centre (ITC), and two international tourism organisations have issued a joint message encouraging greater participation of tourism in global trade policy.

The WTO, the ITC, the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), and the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) said on Wednesday their joint communication is titled Tourism, Trade and the WTO, Xinhua news agency reported.

The statement linking tourism with trade was issued during the three-day annual WTO Public Forum which will end on Thursday.

The head of the WTTC spoke to journalists of China’s importance in global tourism ahead of a public discussion on digital transformation for inclusive tourism.

WTTC President and CEO Gloria Guevara said: “Between 7 and 19 million new jobs could be created in the G20 countries alone by investing in biometrics and new airport infrastructure to make existing terminal facilities and processes more efficient, more secure and seamless for passengers.”

“China is a very important player from our perspective, with 240 million travellers due to the increase of the middle class there,” said Guevara.

Jaime Alberto Cabal, Deputy Secretary-General of UNWTO, said China is now the fourth largest tourism destination in the world and between 2020 and 2025 it could be number one.

The joint message affirmed “the importance of enhanced global cooperation on trade and tourism”, encouraging “greater participation of the tourism sector in trade policy”.

“It’s not only about tourism. Tourism is linked with trade,” said WTO Deputy Director-General Yi Xiaozhun, noting that people who come to Geneva for example “also want to buy goods and souvenirs… A lot of poor countries can do a lot to sell their goods.”

That is why the WTO wants to strengthen relations with international tourism groups, he said