Dr Wykeham McNeil, Minister of Tourism and Entertainment has called on countries with strong earning in tourism to practise responsible tourism by developing national awareness of the ways through which tourism can improve the quality of life and welfare of their citizens. Minister McNeill was giving the chairman’s address at the opening ceremony of the 100th session of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) Executive Council in Rovinj, Croatia.“Over the past few years, tourism has proven to be a strong and resilient economic activity and a significant contributor to the global recovery. International tourist arrivals reported by destinations around the world reached 1,138 million in 2014, a 4.7% increase over the previous year,” the Minister stated in his speech which he addressed to some 200 delegates attending the Executive Council session.The Minister further noted that tourism, which is said to be the largest industry, reportedly provides a job for one in nine workers worldwide.“In many of our member nations it employs a large percentage of our labour force. We are cognizant of the need for even greater emphasis on sustainability.“This is essential to ensure long-term economic gains that provide benefits to all socio-economic groups and across other sectors through strong promotion of linkages. Equally important is collaboration with private-sector stakeholders to ensure compliance and active support of regulations and initiatives designed to preserve our natural and built environment. We must ensure that community tourism efforts emphasise meaningful involvement at the grassroots,” he added.Jamaica had been elected to chair the Executive Committee of the world body for the year 2014-2015, making them the first English–speaking Caribbean nation to do so.
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