Jean-Claude Baumgarten, president and CEO of the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), has called on governments across the globe to work together with the travel and tourism industry in the interest of its long-term sustainability. Baumgarten spoke about such a necessity when addressing delegates at the World Travel Market's Global Economic Forum.
"Although severe, this [financial] crisis cannot be compared with past crises due to events such as 9/11, SARS, or even the Gulf war," he said. "Today, people still want to travel and, once the recovery starts, there is likely to be huge pent-up demand."
Baumgarten shared his belief that the industry is not at a full standstill, and that leaders of travel and tourism have been confronted by many challenging periods in the past, which have made them familiar with making the most of enforced downturns to plan ahead for the future. He warned that governments should provide a supportive policy framework to help stimulate demand and ensure that travel and tourism continues to generate employment and alleviate poverty in emerging markets.
"It is more critical than ever for the public and private sectors to work together in partnership to address the challenges and try to find solutions," he said. "This is one reason why we are taking our annual Global Travel & Tourism Summit to Santa Catarina in Brazil next year. As one of the BRIC countries, Brazil has huge potential for development and it's clear that there is growing interest in Brazil's travel and tourism development from foreign private investors."