UNWTO Ministers' Summit

2009's United Nations World Tourism Organization Minister's Summit takes place on Tuesday, November 10, and promises an enlightening half-day program. This year's theme, "Roadmap for Recovery: Sustainable tourism in challenging times," could not have been timed better, as consumers across the globe are still reeling from the downturn in the economy. Three panels are planned, and the information presented should offer some insights into making the most of the current situation.

The first panel, "Tourism: Tackling the Global Economic Crisis," will begin at 11:25 after the keynote speech from Secretary-General Taleb Rifai. This presentation will look at how the worldwide recession has affected the tourism industry, and share some of the steps taken both by those within the industry and governments to weather the financial storm. This panel, like the second and third, will last approximately 45 minutes.

The second panel, "Positioning Travel and Tourism in the Global Agenda," shifts the focus to tourism's potential to create jobs and help get the wheels of commerce moving once more. It will include discussions on tourism as a part of the G30 initiative, and will examine tourism's possible positive impact on third world countries as well as the part it can play in the continuing drive toward a more environmentally friendly world economy.

Picking up where the second panel left off, "The Way Forward: Future Challenges and the Transformation to a Green Economy," explores the hot-button issue of reconciling tourism with growing environmental awareness. The panel will look at both the challenges and opportunities inherent in the issue, with thte aim of striking a sustainable balance between nature and commerce, to the benefit of both. As in the first panel, this panel will examine the issue from the viewpoint of both government and the industry, and promises new ideas for both. A closing ceremony follows the panel, with a ministers' lunch and interview opportunities afterward.

The summit will take place at ExCeL London in Platinum Suite 4, and is hosted by World Travel Market. The event is by invitation only, and is only open to United Nations World Tourism Organization ministers, heads of national tourism administration and their aides who have registered in advance.