Secretary of Tourism of Mexico led the virtual working session of CITUR
Miguel Torruco Marqués, chaired the Second Regular Meeting of the Inter-American Tourism Commission of the Organization of American States
On behalf of the President of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, the head of Sectur expressed to all the participants his gratitude for having accepted to be part of the working groups that were installed at the Extraordinary Meeting of CITUR on August 14, the which "have become important spaces to join forces and achieve the same objective: the prompt reopening of the tourism sector in the region."
This Second Ordinary Meeting will end tomorrow and will take place in two days: the first is focused on the work carried out by the four work tables installed during the last Extraordinary Session; and the second will take up the report on the CITUR work plan 2018-2021.
Secretary Torruco Marqués indicated that, in this way, today the four working groups, led by Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Jamaica and Mexico, discussed and analyzed the challenges and priorities that the new reality is marking:
1. The standardization of the bio-health protocols for travel and tourism in the region.
2. The development of an agenda on climate change and sustainable development for tourism in the Americas.
3. The design of a 2050 Tourism Agenda for the Americas.
4. The development of an action plan to accelerate the recovery of the commercial aviation and cruise industries in the post-pandemic stage.
"Here I want to thank the leading states of these tables, through their Tourism authorities: Undersecretary José Luis Uriarte Campos, from Chile; Vice Minister Julián Guerrero Orozco, from Colombia; Minister Gustavo Segura Sancho, from Costa Rica; and Minister Edmund Bartlett, from Jamaica, as well as all the countries that joined in this work dynamic, for the invaluable work they carry out for the benefit of tourism in the region, "he said.
He specified that their reflections, concerns and hopes about the continent's tourism future were recorded and based on them they will continue to work together so that tourism continues as the engine of development in the region.
Likewise, he asked each of the working groups to share their roadmap for the final delivery of their reports and action plans, which will have to be carried out before the summer of 2021.
"In the next few days, the team from the International Affairs Unit of the Ministry of Tourism of the Government of Mexico will contact their respective liaisons to define dates and convene a meeting at the technical level in early December," he said.
Secretary Torruco Marqués added that eight months have passed since the World Health Organization declared Covid-19 a pandemic and, throughout all this time, "those of us who are here have had to attend to the health emergency, begin reconstruction. of our sector and regain the confidence of national and international travelers ".
He warned that the tourism sector is still very affected, damage that is reflected in the latest World Tourism Barometer of the World Tourism Organization, which reports that from January to August 2020, the Americas registered a 65 percent decrease in the arrival of tourists .
In July and August, a slight improvement was observed in the occupancy of the hotel industry, although there is still a noticeable drop compared to last year. In September, hotel occupancy averaged 45 percent on the American continent.
By departure regions, America suffered a 90 percent drop in international passenger flow; however, the Caribbean shows encouraging signs of reactivation, according to the air reservation data.
He added that, for its part, the International Association of Cruise Lines has announced that its members will maintain the voluntary suspension of operations of their vessels in the United States, at least until December 31 next year and will take advantage of the remainder of the year to implement health security measures, with the guidance of external experts in public health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of the American Union.
"The only thing left for me is to invite you to continue working as a team for the economic recovery of the tourism sector. Despite the difficult situation we are going through, we will move forward, united as a continent. Let us make international collaboration our flag and promote tourism as a key strategy for competitiveness, development and growth. Let's move together towards an economically fair, socially inclusive and environmentally responsible tourism, "he said.
Finally, he also thanked Ambassador Luz Elena Baños Rivas, permanent representative of Mexico to the OAS, and her work team; Kim Osborne, Executive Secretary for Integral Development of the OAS; the Tourism area of the Department of Economic Development of the Executive Secretariat for Integral Development of the OAS; and to the Ministry of Foreign Relations, through the General Directorate of American Regional Organizations and Mechanisms, "for their valuable support, without which progress in the aforementioned group tasks would not be possible," he said.
In turn, Kim Osborne, executive secretary for Integral Development (SEDI) of the OAS, said that the prospects for tourism remain uncertain. "The International Monetary Fund projects a contraction of 4.4 percent of the world economy in 2020 and an expansion of 5.2 percent by 2021, but despite these projections, any recovery in tourism in our continent will require a coordinated effort from all of us to come out of this crisis as a region, "he assured.
He added that in the midst of this crisis there is the opportunity to rethink, remodel and rebuild the tourism industry, to create a scenario that allows not only growth, but also expanding opportunities for everyone. "Sustainability, inclusiveness and competitiveness do not have to be mutually exclusive, but mutually reinforcing," concluded Osborne.