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Tourism can be ‘major generator’ of jobs after economic crisis 

21 November 2010 09:19:26

Tourism can be ‘major generator’ of jobs after economic crisis

While the international tourism industry was negatively affected by the global economic crisis, the sector is expected to grow in the coming years and provide millions of new jobs, according to the United Nations labour agency.

The travel and tourism industry is expected to generate about 9 per cent of total gross domestic product (GDP) and provide for more than 235 million jobs in 2010, representing 8 per cent of global employment, says the UN International Labour Organisation (ILO).

The agency will convene the Global Dialogue Forum on New Developments and Challenges in the Hospitality and Tourism Sector on November 23 and 24 in Geneva to discuss the impact of the global economic crisis on the tourism industry and address future developments and challenges.

While the travel and tourism industry is one of the largest and most dynamic industries in today’s global economy, a sharp reduction in tourist flows, length of stay, tourist spending and increased restrictions on business travel expenses saw international tourism revenues projected to go down 6 per cent by the end of 2009.

Yet, according to an ILO report prepared for the forum, international tourism is now projected to grow significantly over the coming decade. The UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) is expecting the sector’s global economy to provide 235 million jobs in 2010 and grow to 296 million jobs by 2019. “Tourism has the potential to become a major generator of jobs after the crisis,” ILO Director-General Juan Somavia said, adding that “social dialogue between governments, employers and workers can ensure that the jobs generated will be decent.”

At next week’s gathering, 150 delegates from more than 50 countries will address how the hospitality and tourism industry can take advantage of the crisis as an opportunity and advance sustainable forms of tourism with a strong poverty reduction potential.

Elizabeth Tinoco, director of ILO’s Sectoral Activities Department, noted that a sustainable tourism industry can provide key answers to problems raised at the recent meeting of the Group of 20 (G20) leading economies in Seoul, Republic of Korea. These include private sector-led growth and job creation, social protection, decent work and growth in the least developed countries, poverty, lack of training and skills, ecologically sound development and social protection, she stated.