To the editor:

Travel and tourism have played an increasingly important role in the economic growth of destinations across the globe. In 2012, the G20 world leaders recognized, for the first time, the importance of travel and tourism as a driver of jobs, growth and economic recovery. This declaration was the culmination of long-term efforts by the industry to encourage world leaders to see the potential of travel and tourism in economic development.

In the United States, the tourism industry is already helping lead the road to recovery. Since 2010, the travel industry created jobs at a pace nearly 16 percent faster than the rest of the economy, adding 296,000 American jobs as of October 2012. From January 2010 through October 2012, the industry was a net job creator for 29 out of 34 months and recovered 59 percent of the jobs lost during the Great Recession. With travel-friendly policies in place, the travel industry is projected to create one out of seven new jobs by 2020.

As it becomes increasing clear that tourism can be a major influencer in economic growth, it is important for industry leaders to be advocates not only within government chambers, but in boardrooms, in the media, among employees and within supply chains.

“I believe that we are now showing the kind of leadership that is befitting of an industry that can generate growth, jobs, prosperity and sustainability at both global and regional level, like no other industry on this planet,” said David Scowsill, president and chief executive officer of the World Travel and Tourism Council. “With leadership, however, comes responsibility. The world is changing dramatically. Global economies are shifting, populations are growing, social classes are fluctuating, and the world’s wealth is being redistributed. Consequently there will be a shift in the ‘world order’ of Travel & Tourism. This is our time for leadership.”

Myrna George