By Dean M. Bernardo, eTN Manila.
In the opening speech of the 6th UNWTO International Conference on Tourism Statistics being held from June 21-24, 2017 in Manila in the Philippines, Secretary General Taleb Rifai described the event as a purely technical meeting.
The conference aims to establish a standardized global framework on measuring tourism-related products and activities in any country, and aims for “capacity building” for sustainable development.
Tourism has become a significant contributor in the gross domestic product of most countries, accounting for nearly a third of the world’s trade output, thanks largely to nearly 1.235 billion travelers annually.
Ambassador Dho Young-shim of South Korea, and Chair of the UNWTO Sustaining Tourism for Eliminating Poverty Foundation, reminded delegates that keeping tabs on the economic performance of the tourism industry should best be kept simple and easily understood.
During the first open forum of the 3-day conference attended by almost 60 country delegates from all over the world, Ambassador Dho stressed that millions of people around the world depend on tourism as a livelihood.
Dho added that data generated from these statistics should equate to improving the lives of people and communities, while respecting and preserving the natural beauty of these destinations.
Since 1972 when the establishment of the UNESCO World Heritage Convention began, South Korea has over a dozen World Heritage sites and another dozen or more are awaiting recognition.
The country prides itself as being one of the premiere destinations in Asia as it preserves countless natural and man-made sites for the world to see and visit.
PHOTO: Ambassador Dho Young-shim of South Korea, and Chair of the UNWTO Sustaining Tourism for Eliminating Poverty Foundation (2nd from the right)