Ruggiero's speeches, 1995-99
While tourism represents one of the developing countries' best
economic growth opportunities, the latter face numerous challenges
including high air transport prices and lack of infrastructure, said
participants to the WTO Symposium on Tourism Services.
Symposium took place at the World Trade Organization on 22 and 23
February 2001 and hosted presentations by government tourism
officials, academics, WTO Secretariat and other governmental
organizations involved in tourism. Representatives from the tourism
industry in Cuba, Jamaica, the Philippines and Thailand were also
invited to share their national experiences.
Symposium was organized by the WTO Secretariat and aimed to evaluate
current developments in international tourism that may be of relevance
to the GATS negotiations, and particularly to the proposal by the
Dominican Republic, El Salvador and Honduras for a special GATS annex
on tourism services. The Dominican Republic initiated the idea of the
Symposium when it suggested in May 2000 to look, in the presence of
the private sector, at how to create a competitive environment
favouring the growth of tourism.
is currently the most open service sector: more than 100 WTO Members
have commitments in tourism under the GATS, said the WTO Secretariat.
presentations by development agencies and others showed that tourism
is highly dependent on other services such as air and road transport,
financial services and health services. In the poorest countries, the
lack of such infrastructure constrain the development of tourism
raised a number of problems related to tourism in developing countries
including the high air transport fares to developing country
destinations — which were said to be due partly to low air traffic
density but also to aviation protectionism — and anti-competitive
practices of tour operators.
also looked at the issue of electronic commerce in tourism services.
While the possibility of on-line holiday booking represents a new
opportunity for tourism providers, developing countries, which have
only limited access to the internet, are unable to fully exploit this
to symposium documentation
to the programme
in MS Word format, 3 pages 35KB).
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