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WTO welcomes Australia`s tourism white paper and its decision to rejoin the organization

The World Tourism Organization (WTO) on Thursday warmly welcomed the Tourism White Paper launched by the Australian Prime Minister…

The World Tourism Organization (WTO) on Thursday warmly welcomed the Tourism White Paper launched by the Australian Prime Minister, John Howard, and expressed satisfaction at Australia`s decision to rejoin WTO.

The World Tourism Organization congratulated the Australian Government on the publication of its Tourism White Paper and warmly welcomed the announcement by Prime Minister John Howard of a 235 million Australian dollar funding package to implement the proposals it contains.

The White Paper and the Prime Minister`s statement are the culmination of a process of integrated and consultative forward-looking planning, said WTO Secretary-General Francesco Frangialli. WTO strongly advocates interactive cooperation between tourism stakeholders and governments as the foundation of any successful tourism industry. Australia`s Tourism White Paper is an excellent example of such a productive partnership, ably engineered and led by Small Business and Tourism Minister Joe Hockey.

The announcement by the Prime Minister, continued Mr Frangialli, confirms the Australian Government`s recognition of the growing importance of tourism as a leading force in the service sector that is set to drive the world economy over the next few decades. It constitutes a clear message from the Australian authorities that they award a high priority to tourism and are committed to raising the capacity and performance of their already successful tourism industry to new and higher levels.

Mr. Hockey must be congratulated on his vision and perseverance in initiating and leading this process to its completion. As a government tourism strategy paper the Australian document has undoubtedly raised the standards and set new benchmarks. The Tourism White Paper will be widely studied and will influence thinking and policymaking in many countries.

Mr. Frangialli added: The World Tourism Organization is particularly happy and proud to welcome Australia back to full membership. It is a most appropriate time for Australia to return to WTO, a worldwide intergovernmental body which has now been granted the status of a specialized agency of the United Nations. This decision, taken by the United Nations General Assembly in New York on 7 November 2003, is a clear recognition of the importance and value of tourism. It firmly places tourism on an equal footing with other principal activities of human society such as agriculture, education, health, industry, culture and labour – all of them already represented in specialized agencies of the UN.

We welcome Australia back in the Organization as a key player and one of the leading counties in Asia-Pacific – the fastest growing tourism region in the world. As a member of WTO, Australia will be able to influence international thinking and policymaking and contribute to the sustainable development of tourism in fields where it has demonstrated leading-edge knowledge and experience. Finally, Australia will also benefit from the international interaction with tourism decision makers from around the world and the specialized assistance offered by WTO to its Members, stated the Secretary-General in conclusion.

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