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WTO global campaign stresses importance of tourism

Tourism enriches individuals, families, communities and all the world. This is a central, simple but straight-forward message of the …

Tourism enriches individuals, families, communities and all the world. This is a central, simple but straight-forward message of the new awareness campaign with which the World Tourism Organization (WTO) wants to raise awareness of the positive impacts tourism can have on life, culture and economy, in short on society at all levels.

The Tourism Enriches campaign was launched at the First World Conference on Tourism Communications (TOURCOM) end of January in Madrid. This is the first time WTO has aimed a campaign at the general public, said WTO Secretary-General Mr. Francesco Frangialli. It is a simple, upbeat idea and a simple beginning, but ultimately the campaign is intended to be developed and used by the tourism industry, especially ministries in our member countries, as they see fit.

The initiative came from the WTO Members last year and was discussed at the 15th Session of the General Assembly in Beijing, China, last October. Governments have been putting a higher priority on tourism in the time of recent crises, stressed Mr. Frangialli, explaining that this resulted in recognition of tourism as the most prospective activity, important for environmental, cultural and social awareness, pursuit of peace and international cooperation recognition and in particular of its ability to alleviate poverty through the creation of small and medium sized tourism businesses and the creation of new jobs. That same recognition has taken place at the highest level in the General Assembly of the United Nations, which unanimously agreed on December 23rd to make the WTO its newest specialized agency.

We are calling upon governments to implement this importance of tourism in practice and invest more funds in tourism development and communications, said the Secretary-General. The success of Tourism Enriches also depends in part on its diffusion in the media, so we are inviting them to become the third member in the already established public-private partnership in international tourism.

The aims of Tourism Enriches campaign are to promote tourism as a basic human right and way of life, to stimulate communication about the benefits of tourism as the most prospective economic activity for the local communities and countries, to enhance cooperation between destinations and the tourism industry with the local, regional and international media and to link individual tourism entities to the larger community of international tourism.

Cooperating in the campaign is offered to all destinations, tourist companies and the media, unconditionally with the membership status in the WTO. While we believe that the principles of this campaign are acceptable for all, we in particular invite the developing world to adopt them and link them to the United Nations Millennium Development Goals, Ladded Mr. Frangialli.

The campaign features five basic components that can be adapted and expanded for use by Member States, Affiliate Members of the WTO and the rest of the tourism industry in their own tourism promotion and awareness building activities: the slogan Tourism Enriches, the graphic image or logo of the campaign, a six-page A4 size flyer outlining positive impacts of tourism, such as economic benefits, increased international understanding, rural jobs, environmental protection, etc., an attractive poster using the same artwork and a thirty second video public service announcement for free use on national television channels, airlines, and satellite TV (in progress).

The TOURCOM Network of Communications Experts, a new consultative body to the WTO Press and Communications Section, will be responsible for implementing the campaign within the scope of their own activities around the world.

Interested parties will be invited to use elements of the campaign at the local, regional and national level on destination brochures and advertising, in the print media, on press familiarization trips, to publish the campaign materials in local languages, add the campaign to tourism websites, and to develop their own tools and practices, which will be shared through WTO with other tourism stakeholders.

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