Dubai hosts world conference


MEMBERS of the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) meet in Dubai on April 20 to 22 at the 2008 Global Travel & Tourism Summit.

Last year it was Lisbon. Dubai was chosen as this year’s venue as the emirate was, according to Geoffrey Kent, chairman of WTTC, “The world’s leading example of a state that has successfully embraced travel and tourism as a catalyst for economic growth and prosperity.”
The conference will concentrate on travel and tourism’s role in generating wealth and jobs across the world, encouraging the industry to continue to address poverty and social and cultural issues; and it will focus on the challenges the industry has to overcome to facilitate sustainable growth.
“ ‘World Citizens’ has great resonance as a theme for this year’s WTTC summit. Not only is it an apt description for most of today’s well informed and internet connected travellers; it also reminds travel and tourism operators that we have a responsibility to the larger industry and global environment,” said HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, president of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority and chairman of Dubai Airports and chairman and chief executive, Emirates Airline & Group.
Sheikh Ahmed and Kent, also chairman and CEO of Abercrombie & Kent, signed an accord in November last year establishing this public-private partnership that comprises the Government of Dubai, Emirates, Jumeirah, Nakheel and WTTC.
These leaders will guide the development of the summit for the travel and tourism industry - the world’s largest generator of jobs employing around 231 million people worldwide and generating more than 10 per cent of world GDP.
Sheikh Ahmed said that Dubai was unique as the industry was able to generate employment on a large scale, and to “increase wealth, stimulate trade and promote international cooperation and understanding.” Its success resulted from the partnership between the government and the private sector.
WTTC President Jean-Claude Baumgarten said, “The active participation of all delegates and the frank exchange of ideas from all countries of the world will influence decisions taken by industry leaders, assuring a long term and responsible view of travel and tourism. The Summit in Dubai will provide the ideal platform to broadcast the unity of our leaders in ensuring a sustainable future”.
HE Khalid bin Sulayem, director general, Dubai Tourism Commerce and Marketing (DTCM) said that the conference theme of ‘Global Citizens’ went well “with our ambitious target to have 10 million visitors by 2010 and 15 million visitors by the years 2015 from our current over 7.33 million tourists.”
“DTCM is making endeavours to position Dubai as the leading tourism destination and commercial hub in the world that would yield in stronger economy. The theme, “Global Citizens” is another way to say the same thing, as our efforts to attract more tourists for business and leisure purposes include provision of best available luxuries, much beyond the expectations of the visitors, making it a unique experience without feeling that they are away from their home country.
“The emphasis on luxuries, automation of procedures, focus on online information and the whole concept of e-government is to ensure smooth arrival, stay and departure of the tourists.”
Invitations to the WTTC summit are restricted to heads of government, cabinet ministers and the chairmen and CEOs of 100 of the world’s leading travel and tourism companies who are members of the council.
This 8th global summit has a unique format - The Round - where all members can take part and be heard. Contributors to the discussion include Sheikh Ahmed; Kent; Baumgarten; HH Sheikh Sultan Bin Tahnoon Al Nahyan, chairman, Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority; Onkokame Kitso Mokaila, Minister of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism, Botswana and Joe Sita, CEO, Nakheel Hotels.