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Getting to the True Value of Tourism

For Immediate Release

Getting to the True Value of Tourism

Madrid/Barcelona, 28 November 2006/eTN - A new study released by the UNWTO shows how the economic importance of tourism extends to the Meetings Industry. "The Meetings Industry has come of age and placed itself firmly at the centre of tourism's future by engaging in this fundamental analysis of its societal worth and by claiming its rightful place in the public-private partnership framework of UNWTO global leadership of our sector", said Assistant Secretary-General Geoffrey Lipman at the launch of the report.

The report "Measuring the Economic Importance of the Meetings Industry. Developing a Tourism Satellite Account Extension" is the result of two years of work by UNWTO, ICCA, MPI and Reed Travel Exhibitions (RTE). It recommends extending the United Nations Tourism Satellite Account (UNTSA) to measure the global economic magnitude of the Meetings Industry.

Developed over the past 10 years and supported by leading government and industry bodies, UNTSA has become a standard on tourism statistics, unifying the economic data and macroeconomic direct contribution of the tourism sector. It was approved in 2000 by the UN Statistics Commission and is currently used in a joint project between UNWTO and ILO to measure employment in tourism industries. Some 75 countries are using the UNTSA and the OECD and the IMF recognize its importance and will over time factor it into their own statistical series - on which policy is based.

"We are pleased the Meetings Industry has chosen to work as a private sector UNWTO Affiliate in this endeavour", said Assistant Secretary-General Geoffrey Lipman. "The UNWTO Global Code of Ethics sets the framework for responsible and sustainable tourism. The ST-EP program helps fight the war on poverty. And the UNTSA provides a measuring framework to see the macroeconomic and related impacts of the sector so that they can be properly factored into good policymaking; today's launch has an important place, in that structure, for a very important industry", he added.

The UNWTO is the recognized agency for Tourism in the UN System at a time when the UN itself is increasingly engaging and being engaged in all aspects of global governance for humanitarian, development and peaceful coexistence - particularly through the Millennium Development Goals.

Tourism has evolved into a major cluster of industries which cover leisure and business demand and a range of supply side industries which provide goods and services. Tourism is today one of the largest economic sectors representing 3-5% of GDP, jobs and investment in industrialised states and up to 30% in developing states, representing a socioeconomic lifeline for the poorest states for whom it is a top export.

ENDS

www.unwto.org

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