The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) — the global authority on the economic and social contribution of travel and tourism — will host its inaugural WTTC Americas Summit from May 16-18, 2012 in Mexico’s Riviera Maya at Grand Velas Riviera Maya. The summit will explore commonalities and challenges throughout the travel and tourism industry in the Americas while identifying opportunities for growth and collaboration. Key industry identities from the public and private sectors, NGOs and the media will convene for a unique networking forum.

Speakers at WTTC Americas Summit include President of Mexico Felipe Calderón, Mexican telecoms billionaire Carlos Slim (the world’s wealthiest person), Secretary Gloria Guevara of Mexico, US Deputy Secretary of State Thomas Nides, and Secretary-General of the UN World Tourism Organization Taleb Rifai. Other speakers include executives from hotels, airlines, tour operators and travel agencies — as well as key opinion leaders from the media such as CBS Travel Editor Peter Greenberg.

The Summit will attract delegates from Central America, The Caribbean, South America and North America.

Topics to be explored include:

  • How governments can together to drive jobs and economic growth.
  • How opening skies to promote connectivity within the region and attracting more airlines.
  • The importance of investing now in tourism infrastructure to prepare the industry for tomorrow.
  • The importance of sustainability for long-term viability and success in the industry.
  • The importance of a more facile and coordinated system for granting visas.
  • How consumer demand for mobile and social networking will drive innovation for tomorrow.
  • Key lessons and best practices for destination marketing.

Mexico was selected as the host of this summit because of its commitment to travel and tourism, explains David Scowsill, President and CEO of WTTC in a statement. “Mexico is the perfect host for the Americas Summit. Mexico has rightly put travel and tourism at the heart of its economy as a generator of employment, export income and GDP. President Calderón’s commitment to tourism is underlined by being the first to join the WTTC’s and UNWTO’s joint Global Leaders for Tourism campaign, which recognizes the importance of tourism to growth and development. Holding the Americas Summit in Mexico just one month before the G20 meeting of world leaders will place Travel & Tourism among the most important topics being discussed in Los Cabos.”

(Learn more about Meetings in Cancun)

Mexico is also host to the United Nations World Tourism Organization’s T20 meeting of tourism ministers in Merida, Yucatan, Mexico, from May 15-16. Results of that meeting will be shared at WTTC Americas Summit.

Travel & Tourism is 9% of Global GDP

At the WTTC Global Summit held in Tokyo, April 17-19, 2012, Scowsill put the travel industry into perspective during his closing speech.

“We are responsible for 255 million jobs, 6 trillion dollars, which is 9% global GDP – this makes us bigger than automotive, bigger than mining and bigger than manufacturing. For every one dollar spent in Travel & Tourism, we generate 3 dollars to the economy,” Scowskill said.

“As an industry, we will continue to drive the sustainability agenda forward. The leaders of WTTC are finding that the balance between people, planet and making profits is not only achievable, but essential for consumers and to every employee of their organisations. I believe that together we can become a Force for Good that is respected and welcomed by all – wherever our journey takes us.

“I believe we have started to show 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 can.”

Sponsors to WTTC Americas Summit include Aeromexico, Banamex and

The 13th WTTC Global Summit will be held April 8-10, 2013, in Abu Dhabi.

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