The WTTC Sustainability and Investment Summit is held today in Puerto Rico
The event, which will take place in San Juan, will bring together world leaders in the field to analyze the challenges facing the sector
With a call to prioritize the joint work of governments to promote policies that allow the development of tourism in a sustainable manner, the work of the Sustainability and Investment Summit of the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) began in Puerto Rico. its acronym in English).
During the opening of the forum, Julia Simpson, president and CEO of the WTTC, endorsed the firm commitment of the sector to preserve the planet, its biodiversity and reduce climate change.
She said that the WTTC Summit represents a strategic platform to promote the issue of investment in sustainable tourism. She stressed that the governments of the region must work together to promote the development of infrastructure, air connectivity, improvement of skills and job training.
“The collaboration of the private sector, together with the authorities and industry organizations, is key to achieving long-term growth, especially after the Covid-19 pandemic,” he indicated.
Prospects for tourism are positive at this time. According to the Economic Impact Report for the Caribbean Region and Puerto Rico, the pandemic caused a 53 percent decrease in GDP and the loss of more than 700,000 jobs.
For the next decade, annual growth of 5.5 percent and the creation of one million new jobs are forecast; therefore, therein lies the importance of joint work between governments and authorities in the region.
At a press conference, attended by businessmen Frank Raineri, Founder and President of Grupo Puntacana, and José Delgado, Executive Vice President and Partner of Interlink, Arnold Donald, President and CEO of Carnival Corporation and Chairman of the WTTC Board of Directors, thanked to Puerto Rico for hosting this regional event, noting that the summit will act as a platform to highlight the importance of travel sustainability; In addition, the challenges facing the sector will be analyzed through the participation of world leaders in the field, such as Alexandra Cousteau, an activist for sustainability and the environment who has brought issues such as water care to the table. Rosario Marín, the 41st Treasurer of the United States, will also participate.
For his part, Carlos Mercado, Executive Director of the Puerto Rico Tourism Company, who said: "This event is the result of a solid partnership between the WTTC and the Government of Puerto Rico and was created with the interest of exploring solutions and strategies to develop a more sustainable future that will impact generations to come.
“The Puerto Rico Tourism Company is proud to lead the steps that our government has taken to create awareness in the public and private sectors, as well as in the local population, regarding the importance of establishing and implementing sustainable policies within the tourism industry,” Mercado assured.
The Summit, which is being held in a hybrid format, underscores the efforts being made in the travel and tourism sector as it recovers from the pandemic, and that are being accelerated for a greener and more equitable society.
Specialists will address issues such as the urgent need for action in the face of the climate crisis and the decline in biodiversity. In addition to the role that world leaders play through their collaboration to reconcile humanity with nature. Special relevance will be given to financial policies and instruments that should be prioritized to contribute to a more sustainable future.
The WTTC Summit brings together tourism ministers from throughout the Caribbean and from destinations such as Argentina, Barbados, the United States, and the Bahamas, among others.
It is important to note that 2021 was a record year in tourism for Puerto Rico, which received 9.7 million travelers and reported a hotel occupancy rate of over 65 percent. Currently, the sector represents 7 percent of the country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP), in addition to generating more than 80,000 jobs.