"TOURISM: A CHALLENGE FOR ADDRESSING POVERTY"
Under the theme "Tourism: A Challenge for Addressing Poverty", the Organization of American States (OAS) will organize along with the Government of El Salvador on September 29 and 30, 2011, in San Salvador, the 19th Inter-American Travel Congress. This event at which Haiti will participate, is considered as the main hemispheric platform for promoting tourism in the Americas and facilitating exchanges of experiences and best practices in this area.
According to the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), income from tourism for the first half of 2011 in the Americas saw a growth of six percent, "slightly higher"” than the world average. José Miguel Insulza, the Secretary General of the OAS, stressed the importance of tourism development for many countries of the continent. "We are very satisfied that Latin America and the Caribbean have overcome the global crisis in the way in which they have [...] Nevertheless, the figures in different sectors tell a more complex story [...] The tourism industry has been affected not only by the crisis, but by other issues, such as changes in the structure itself of tourism, natural disasters and health issues."
Among the guests invited to participate in the Congress are Ministers and high-level authorities of Tourism from Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Barbados, Belize, Bolivia, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominica, Ecuador, El Salvador, United States, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Dominican Republic, St. Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and Trinidad and Tobago; as well as leaders of civil society organizations and universities.
The focus of the dialogue will be the consideration of tourism as a mechanism for reducing poverty, and the major role the sector plays in generating economic activity, as well as ways to better promote community inclusion and participation in the activities of sustainable tourism and its development. More specifically, the central issues for discussion will be public-private partnerships to promote investment and tourism development; cultural and heritage tourism as a core integrating factor in communities; micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) and corporate social responsibility (CSR) as keys to sustainable tourism development; challenges for sustainable tourism in the Americas; tourism as a ministerial process and the Sixth Summit of the Americas; and the approval of key issues in financing for tourism projects through the Special Multilateral Fund of the Inter-American Council for Integral Development (FEMCIDI).
The Congress also will be an opportunity for participating governments to sign official mutual cooperation agreements in the area of tourism and will set the foundations for future comparative studies and technical projects focused on the development of responsible tourism, as well as coordinated activities among intergovernmental and private organizations in the field of tourism development.