The First T.20 Ministers Meeting

UNWTO Welcomes the Outcome of the First T.20 Ministers’ Meeting in South Africa

“Travel and Touism: Stimuli for the Global Economy,” was the theme of the first T.20 Ministers’ Meeting held the last week of February in Johannesburg, South Africa. The main focus of the meeting was on how tourism should affect worldwide economic decisions. In the opening address of the meeting, South African’s Minister of Tourism gave grim details of the strain tourism has faced due to the poor economy. Therefore, improving economies worldwide was also a key component of the meeting. Overall, the United Nations World Tourism Organization was satisfied with the results and recommendations that were established at the conference. In fact, the UNWTO Secretary General, Taleb Rifai, stated that the meeting was very helpful in working toward the goals of promoting economic recovery and responding to global challenges.

Key recommendations were made at the meeting, primarily revolving around tourism. First, encouraging and creating ways to enhance tourism and travel was discussed at length. The participants in the meeting brainstormed in detail how tourism can promote both the social and economic aspects of an area. It was determined that by countries cooperating together, tourism could expand internationally more so than it already does. By working together, countries could better understand each other, and items such as restrictive travel barriers could be addressed, and possibly removed. With the help of these suggestions, tourism could expand, leading to healthier economies globally.

In addition to cooperating with various nations, the idea of teaming with international and intergovernmental groups was discussed as a beneficial suggestion. Some of the partnerships mentioned were the UNWTO, G20, European Commission, national and regional government and organizations, as well as some private organizations too. Many different groups working together could help stimulate the economy globally, without all of the work falling on the shoulders of just one nation or organization.

The UNWTO seemed to be very happy with the outcome of the meeting. The recommendations and ideas that were shared at the meeting appear to be very conducive to strengthening economies throughout the world, and even promoting greener economies worldwide. Many of the steps will probably start small, such as improving areas of employment. If employment can be enhanced, more jobs will likely be available. With more jobs available, the number of those in poverty will lessen, which will create overall lower poverty levels throughout the world. The seemingly achievable goals will continue to be discussed at future meetings.