The first regional Summit of the America’s organized by the World Travel and Tourism Council, was held from May 16th through 18th 2012, with the participation of over 300 delegates. The event drew major regional and international government bodies and private sector companies, all whom descended on the Riviera Maya to set the stage for the regional take on the development of the Tourism sector.

The Summit was co-chaired by WTTC President & CEO David Scowsill and the Mexico Tourism Secretary, Gloria Guevara. The speakers of note included President Felipe Calderón, Taleb Rifai, Secretary General of the United Nations World Tourism Organization, WTTC Chairman (and Chairman of the Executive Board of TUI AG), Michael Frenzel, film director, actor and environmentalist Robert Redford, and the Mexican billionaire businessman and philanthropist Carlos Slim.

Emphasis was placed on the fact that governments need to play a bigger role in making the tourism industry a priority at all levels and should create policies to uplift the industry while making adjustments as the market changes. Moreover, countries should embrace a closer working relationship between the tourism private sectors and government in order to enhance the industry

Visa facilitation is central to stimulating economic growth and job creation through tourism. The G20 can have a particularly important role to play in this respect. G20 economies could boost their international tourist numbers by an additional 122 million, generate an extra US$ 206 billion in tourism exports and create over five million additional jobs by 2015, by improving visa processes, according to preliminary research by UNWTO and the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) said, Taleb Rifai: UNWTO Secretary-General.

The Belize Tourism Industry Association’s Executive Director: Efren Perez and Membership Officer: Talia Tillett, attended the three day sessions representing Belize at this important regional event. For more information on the speeches and videos of the summit you can visit the World Travel and Tourism Council website or contact our BTIA Office on #10 North Park St. at 227-1144 or email; the BTIA: promoting the sustainable development and growth of the Tourism Industry.