Hotel Online  Special Report

 The World Tourism Organization Urges Caribbean States
to Push Tourism Up the Agenda


RODNEY BAY, St Lucia (June 30, 2004) - In a keynote address to CMEx, the Caribbean Media Exchange on Sustainable Tourism, Geoffrey Lipman, Special Advisor to the Secretary General of the World Tourism Organization (WTO), said that tourism should be the leading issue for Caribbean States in trade and development strategies.

He said the world economy needs a successful Doha Development Round and tourism should be an important part of the final package with balanced and structured liberalization to help develop the export economies of the world's poorest countries.

Speaking to Caribbean, European and North American media, and tourism industry leaders gathered in the St. Lucian capital of Castries, Lipman contrasted the worldwide fall in basic commodity prices in the past three decades and the reduction in trade preferences with the sustained growth of Tourism Services and increasing developing state participation in this sector.

"The countries of greatest need in the fight against poverty are also areas with massive tourism opportunity. They abound in culture, nature and tradition that tomorrow's tourists are seeking. Africa with its unique wildlife and wide open spaces, Central America with its ecotourism, the Indian Ocean with its pristine waters and the Caribbean with its rich history, tropical climate and magnificent beaches.

"All developing countries have tourism export potential - it is already one of the top sources of investment and foreign exchange.  And the good news is that over the past decade tourism to poor countries grew at twice the rate of OECD states (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development)."

This service sector par excellence should be a priority in trade and development policies worldwide, Lipman said.  The poor countries have a 21st century export leader, the industrialised countries have the advanced industry and the consumers with disposable income to support the development process and take an active part in the benefits.  "Tourism is a win-win for developed and developing countries," he reasoned.

Lipman also said the World Tourism Organization as the new United Nations Specialized Agency responsible for tourism was committed to the integration of the Millennium Goals in this pivotal sector of the world economy.  He cited its "Liberalization with a Human Face" strategy, its special Africa Program, efforts to bring increased air service to poor countries and the ST-EP (sustainable tourism to eradicate poverty) initiative to raise funds to promote sustainable tourism projects which help eliminate poverty.

In re-iterating WTO's commitment to the Caribbean, he said the organization would upgrade its trade and development support to the region and increase collaboration with regional institutions like the Caribbean Tourism Organisation and the Caribbean Hotel Association, as well as NGOs like Counterpart International and Conservation International.

About the Caribbean Media Exchange on Sustainable Tourism (CMEx) - 

CMEx began with the inspiration of Counterpart International to improve the quality of media coverage of sustainable tourism in the Caribbean. Further, it sought to increase the input of the media in the design of sustainable tourism policies, and highlight the necessity of tourism to the economies of small island states. Two and a half years and five conferences later, it has accomplished just that.  CMEx is hosted by Counterpart International and Counterpart Caribbean with technical assistance from the Caribbean Hotel Association.

Elizabeth Moore
202 296-9676
Also See: Caribbean Media Exchange on Sustainable Tourism Provokes New Tourism Thinking / June 2002
Caribbean Media Exchange Calls for Urgent Tourism Action / November 2001

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