Mexico president first to join UNWTO global campaign on value of travel

UNITED NATIONS Mexico President Felipe Calderón has become the first head of state to join the United Nations World Tourism Organisation and World Travel and Tourism Council joint campaign highlighting the importance of travel and tourism to global growth and development.

UNWTO Secretary-General Taleb Rifai and WTTC President and CEO David Scowsill presented Calderón with an open letter outlining travel and tourism’s position as one of the world’s largest generators of sustainable enterprises and decent jobs, a powerful driver of socioeconomic growth and development and a key player in the transformation to the green economy.

“For Mexico, tourism is a national priority and a political priority. It is an essential activity for promoting growth and raising living standards,” Calderón says. “The sector is also key for promoting the regional development we seek and for doing so sustainably.”

This year has been declared the Year of Tourism in Mexico, and Calderón has called for a united effort across all government ministries and departments to promote the sector. Calderón says he is honored to be the first head of state to join the campaign and says he is taking the first page of the tourism “Golden Book.” He aims to make Mexico “a privileged destination for international tourism.”

UNWTO and WTTC are jointly presenting the open letter to heads of state and government around the world, calling on political leaders to acknowledge tourism’s role in facing global challenges and prioritize the sector high in national policies in order to maximize its potential to deliver on sustained and balanced growth.

“Despite tourism’s proven capacity to advance sustainable development, the sector still lacks the recognition it deserves around decision-making tables,” Rifai says. “Meeting with President Calderón today represents an important first step in raising awareness of tourism’s role among world leaders so that they draw on the sector when addressing the multiple challenges we face.”