The Italian Minister of Tourism, and newly elected Chair of the UNWTO Executive Council, Ms Michela Vittoria Brambilla, has called for every effort to be taken to further demonstrate the contribution of tourism to the global economy on an official visit to UNWTO (Madrid, Spain, 12 November).
“The Italian government is firmly convinced that a resource that touches on so many aspects as tourism – a vehicle of trade and knowledge, a driving force for development and socio-economic growth – must be fully acknowledged and given credit as an industry in its own right, with its own characteristics and specific needs,” said Ms Brambilla addressing Ambassadors of UNWTO Member States, Spanish high-level officials and members of the press at UNWTO Headquarters. “I can assure you of our utmost readiness, and certainly my own, to promote an effective and innovative vision of the potential of our sector”, she added.
“Italy stands out as a country that has truly recognized the potential of tourism in terms of job creation, sustainable economic growth and fair and inclusive development,” said UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai. “This was made patently clear earlier last year with the appointment of the first dedicated Italian Tourism Minister, Ms Brambilla.”
Ms Brambilla was in Madrid to meet with Mr Rifai, following the election of Italy as chair of the UNWTO Executive Council, UNWTO’s governing body. Ms Brambilla expressed her readiness to work closely with UNWTO to achieve solid results during the country’s one-year mandate. The Italian Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi, described the election as a “significant recognition”, according to the Minister.
Italy, a UNWTO Member State since 1978, is a leading tourism destination, ranking fifth in international tourist arrivals and fourth in international tourism receipts. Despite the challenging economic environment of recent years, Italy was one of the few countries to see tourism growth in 2009, with 43 million tourist arrivals, and continues to post strong results in 2010 with both arrivals and receipts up by 3%.