In recognition of tourism’s vital contribution to socio-economic development, particularly in Small Island Developing States (SIDS), the Prime Minister of Samoa, Hon. Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Dr. Sailele Malielegaoi, has received the UNWTO / World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) Open Letter on Travel and Tourism on the occasion of the Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States.
The UNWTO/WTTC Open Letter calls on heads of state and government around the world to acknowledge tourism’s key role in delivering more sustained and balanced growth and prioritize the sector higher in national policies in order to maximize its potential.
Meeting UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai, and WTTC Chairman, Michael Frenzel, on the sidelines of the Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States, Tuilaepa said:
“Sustainable tourism is an area that our government has placed much importance, as it holds key potential for future economic growth and social development. Great benefits from tourism are envisaged and have already been realised accounting for 20 per cent of national GDP per annum. Sustainable Tourism supports employment, provides foreign exchange and builds the economy and it is still expanding the capacities of Samoa.”
“We envisage a growing tourism sector that will lead in green growth development that engages our visitors and people to a Samoa that is recognized as a leading Pacific nation for Sustainable Tourism.”
“I am very happy to see such high level support afforded to tourism in Samoa, a country that has progressed significantly in recent yearsthanksin no small part to the benefits brought by the tourism sector”, said Mr. Rifai. “Tourism is a socio-economic mainstay in many islands such as Samoa and I am confident that the political support demonstrated to the sector by the Prime Minister will allow it to be a continuous driver of sustainable development and improvedlivelihoodsin this pristine country”, he added.
Dr.Frenzel said: “WTTC is delighted that the Samoan Government is committed to the sustainable development of our industry. Travel & Tourism is a major contributor to economic growth, to trade, to job creation, to diversification of the economy and to social well-being. It is vital that the travel andtourism industry in Samoa gets the right support and investment at government level to allow the industry to continue to thrive.”
In 2013, Samoa welcomed 116.000 international tourists. International tourism represents 55% of all exports in Samoa (US$ 136 million).
Note to Editors:
The UNWTO/WTTC Open Letter outlines Travel & Tourism’s value as one of the world’s largest generators of jobs, a powerful driver of socio-economic growth and development and a key player in the transformation to the Green Economy. To date, the Open Letter has been received by 65 heads of state and government.