Tourism ministers from the G20 countries have met in Johannesburg for a meeting at the Sandton Convention Centre this week.
Dubbed the T-20, the meeting, which ran from February 23 -26, was themed "Travel and tourism: stimuli for the global economy.”
The ministers at the meeting discussed how the tourism industry would best be able to assist in the global economic recovery.
During the meeting it was reported that business tourism represents approximately 6 percent of all foreign arrivals in South Africa.
This represents more than half a million visitors per year who come to South Africa for MICE events.
Speaking at the meeting, Tourism Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk said, “We must ask how, together, we can build a sustainable and resilient sector.”
He urged participants to abandon the method of “business as usual” and encouraged them to work smarter and more flexibly. “We need to speak as one and be seen to speak as one."
United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), Secretary General Taleb Rifai agreed with the tourism minister’s sentiments.
He said that while there were positive signs emerging from the economy, recovery was still weak and uneven.
"Unemployment in particular is our major challenge; public debt and large budget deficits are also alarming.
“We must therefore assume that the world will continue to need to strengthen both its resilience and stimulus," said Rifai.At the end of the T-20, the ministers drew up a communiqué to be delivered to the G20 meeting in Canada later this year.
Source = e-Travel Blackboard: C.F