Summit looks at ‘powering global growth’

Scowsill...administration engagement

IN THE run up to the World Travel & Tourism Council Global Summit 2011, TTN spoke to president and CEO DAVID SCOWSILL about what’s in store.

How was this year’s venue for the WTTC summit chosen?

There was an RFP process and Las Vegas was selected on the strength of its proposal.

What can participants expect this year?

The event will be attended by more than 800 industry and government leaders. Interactive discussions, in WTTC’s signature ‘round’ format will focus on the theme of ‘Powering Global Growth’ – how travel and tourism can stimulate economies and sustainable growth, in both emerging economies and those recovering from recession. We will look at the impact of the growing middle classes in the BRIC countries on travel and tourism, and how the industry can make the most of this opportunity. A mixture of keynotes, interviews and panel sessions will mean that delegates will experience firsthand the opinions of those at the helm of the industry and the debates which will steer the industry forward over the coming years. Outside the conference programme, there will be ample time for networking and relaxing during the lunches and dinners that have been laid on for us by our hosts, Las Vegas.

Are there any new elements this year?

This year we will see high level political engagement from the Obama administration, with Secretaries participating in several of the discussions.

We will also be launching new research into the impact of business travel on the global economy at a special session on May 18. 

This year we have also brought in a number of speakers from outside the industry to give their perspective on how travel and tourism can ‘power global growth’. 

Will you be addressing the issues currently facing the Middle East and their effect on travel and tourism both in the region and on the wider travel and tourism industry?

There is no specific session focusing on the Middle East but the issues will form part of the general discussions on ‘New Global Mindset’, ‘Investing in Growth’, ‘Powering Sustainable Growth’ and ‘Breaking through the Brick Wall’.

From a WTTC point of view, what is your take on how the situation is impacting the region?

We have not yet made this calculation although anecdotal evidence suggests that it could be significant. Visitor arrivals are down and this will undoubtedly have an impact.  WTTC will be undertaking research later in the year to assess the economic impact of the unrest. However, tourists should not be deterred from travelling to the region in general but should be aware of the situation in specific countries and follow their national government travel advisories. 

Will you also be looking at the effects of the rising cost of airline fuel and how this is impacting the industry?

Yes, we have a session focusing on infrastructure needs and aviation will be central to this.

What recommendations do you expect to see coming from the summit for the industry and for governments?

The outcomes of the summit will be around new ways the private and public sectors can work together to ensure that travel and tourism’s potential to power global growth is harnessed, as emerging from the various discussions.