Hungarian President Pal Schmitt last week became one of the first European leaders to sign up for the joint World Travel & Tourism Council’s (WTTC) and World Tourism Organization’s (UNWTO) Global Leaders for Tourism Campaign.
Earlier this month, President Schmitt had been presented with a letter from the UNTWO Secretary General Taleb Rifai, which stressed how important the world tourism industry is to overall growth and development around the globe.
Having worked in the tourism industry for over 17 years himself, President Schmitt told reporters that he understood how important tourism was to issues such as employment and local economies.
“Cooperation between national and international tourist organizations is essential for the development of a successful tourist industry throughout Europe,” the President said.
A former Olympic gold medal winner, President Schmitt was also keen to highlight the relationship that tourism enjoys with sport, pointing out that the two are both likely to drive growth over the next decade.
“The fact that Hungary is joining our campaign is a very promising step forward as we try to keep tourism as one of the focal points of the global economic agenda,” said Mr Rifai.
Meanwhile, the World Travel and Tourism Council President David Scowsill was equally enthusiastic about President Schmitt’s endorsement of their campaign. “He shows a deep understanding of the huge potential social and economic benefits that can be gained by fostering travel and tourism’s development,” said Scowsill.
“I’m hopeful that more European leaders will follow in his steps.”
Hungary saw 9 million tourists pass through its borders in 2010, a figure which marks it out as one of the continent’s most important destinations. It’s also one of the few European countries to see tourist arrivals grow during the 2009 disaster year.
The Global Leaders for Tourism Campaign is a joint initiative by the WTTC and UNWTO which calls on national leaders and governments around the world to acknowledge the critical role of tourism in sustainable and balanced economic growth.