Arguably the biggest political step forward towards better industry co-operation with international political authority was taken at this year’s IMEX’s Politician’s Forum in Frankfurt with the agreeing of a joint statement between the meetings industry, as represented by the Joint Meetings Industry Council (JMIC), and the two most important global travel and tourism organisations: the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) and the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC).
The new statement (below in full) recognises key incremental values associated with the meetings industry and identifies key areas as focal points for future collaboration.
Specific strategies for addressing the priority areas remain to be identified and the parties say they intend, in the coming months, to develop “an ongoing interface in areas that will better support the interrelated objectives of all three organisations”.
“We believe this is an important achievement for the meetings industry as it opens the door for more effective communications and interactions between our three organisations in areas where we have a common interest and a stake in future industry growth and stability,” said JMIC President Philippe Fournier (pictured).
“At the same time, it will enable us all to speak more consistently and with greater credibility to our respective audiences and constituencies, many of which we share,” he added.
The agreement was the product of a series of discussions over a number of months in which areas of common interest were identified by representatives of the signatory organisations.
Of particular concern was the importance of recognising and incorporating the incremental values associated with the meetings industry relative to the role it plays in facilitating global business, professional and academic outcomes and more effectively incorporating these values in the ongoing conversation with governments and the business community. In addition, there was an opportunity recognised in that these benefits could be more effectively documented and presented if supported by a better integrated research effort.
“The meetings industry is today a central part of the tourism sector. Among the over one billion international tourists that travel the world every year, an estimated 140m (14 per cent) do so for business and professional reasons. Yet, more important than these numbers is the impact the meetings industry has on the ground – the enormous economic contribution it represents for destinations around the world, the fact that the meetings industry is today a fundamental source of knowledge sharing and that it contributes decisively to progress trade, investment, innovation and science,” said UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai.
David Scowsill, President and CEO of The World Travel & Tourism Council said: “Travel and Tourism is one of the world’s largest economic sectors, accounting for nine per cent of GDP, one in eleven jobs worldwide and 30 per cent of the world’s service sector exports. The meetings industry is a major contributor to travel and tourism revenues and economic and social advancement. Conferences, meetings, conventions and exhibitions bring together individuals and organisations to pursue business, professional, academic and social goals. We look forward to working together with the JMIC and UNWTO to support and advance the role played by the meetings industry in the growth of travel and tourism and that of economies and societies”.
The preliminary discussions as well as the collaboration meeting in which the statement was finalised were facilitated by IMEX Frankfurt.
Joint Statement by the UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) and the Joint Meetings Industry Council (JMIC):
Travel and tourism is one of the world’s largest economic sectors, accounting for nine per cent of GDP and one in eleven jobs worldwide and generating 30 per cent of the world’s service sector exports.
The meetings industry is comprised of business events such as conferences, meetings, conventions and exhibitions that bring together individuals and organisations in order to pursue business, professional, academic and social objectives.
While the meetings industry is a major contributor to travel and tourism revenues, its outputs also deliver significant incremental benefits that support overall global economic and social advancement.
In order to support and advance the vital role played by the meetings industry in promoting the growth of travel and tourism and that of economies and societies, UNWTO, WTTC and the Joint Meetings Industry Council (JMIC), agree to collectively pursue the following objectives with appropriate strategies:
- To coordinate research efforts in order to produce rigorous and consistent information and measurement of the value and benefits associated with the meetings industry that can guide the policies necessary to support its growth;
- To align advocacy and messaging both promoting the direct benefits of the meetings industry to the tourism and travel sector and acknowledging that its primary purpose is to contribute to economic, professional and academic advancement;
- To encourage all public and private sector organisations in the meetings industry to commit to the principles of sustainable development.
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