Remarks by

Jean Ricot Dormeus,

Representative of the Organization of the American States

At the Launch of the XXIV Inter-American Congress of Ministers and High-Level Authorities of Tourism

January 25 , 2018


Honorable Dominic Gaskin, Minister of Tourism,

Honorable Ministers and High-Level officials,

Colleagues of the Diplomatic Corps,

Ladies and gentlemen,

I am delighted to be part of the launch of the first ever Inter-American sectoral conference in Guyana and the undertaking of strengthening a vital industry in the Americas, even the world. The Twenty-Fourth Inter-American Congress of Ministers and High-level Authorities of Tourism, March 21 and 22, 2018 will not only showcase the great tourism potential of Guyana, but especially offer our region the right setting to re-energize its vision for the sustained development of the tourism sector, the right ambiance to nurture togetherness in order to maximize tourism revenues and boost job creation through tourism, and the right timing to reaffirm and uphold the values of peace, cooperation, respect for human rights and dignity, and mutual understanding which the Organization of American States embraces and cherishes, without which there can be no thriving tourism.

Let me congratulate and thank the Government and the people of Guyana for hosting such an auspicious event, a strong symbol of their commitment and determination to contribute to the Inter-American agenda, in particular that of integral development. I also wish to recognize Minister Dominic Gaskin and his team for their engagement to make this congress a successful and memorable one.

I am glad that the XXIV Inter-American Congress comes in Guyana when some productive segments of the economy are faced with challenges detrimental to thousands of jobs and economic growth. I am saying this because travel and tourism contributes nearly 10% of the world’s GDP and one in 10 of all jobs on the planet. Over one billion people cross international borders each year, a number expected to reach 1.8 billion by 2030, while at the same time, billions more travel domestically. For the Americas as a whole the total contribution of travel and tourism to GDP was 8.5 percent in 2016 while for emerging destinations such as Guyana, the total contribution of the sector to GDP was 7.3 percent.

Just imagine a take off of the tourism sector as a result of the policies implemented in Guyana, the efforts to milk the slogan “South America Undiscovered” of a huge amount of tourist arrivals, and the impact of the XXIV Inter-American Congress. Imagine the fallout on economic growth, the transformation of the country visuals and the change in the social and cultural life.

I for one like the theme of the Twenty-Fourth Congress “Connecting the Americas through Sustainable Tourism”. It highlights the importance of and connecting peoples, businesses, communities and experiences in the Americas through the promotion of travel and tourism. It highlights the need for an expansion of tourism within the Americas. It highlights the stark reality that no country can can make it alone; either we work together or decline in isolation.

When the Organization of American States, through its Secretary General Luis Almagro, signed with Guyana the agreement to host the Twenty-Fourth Congress last year on December 22 in Washington DC, we contemplated dialogue among Ministers and High-Authorities of Tourism. We contemplated the promotion and exchange of experiences and best practices. We contemplated progress on issues on the table since the First Inter-American Travel Congress held in San Francisco, California, in April 1939.

Therefore, we hope that the XXIV Inter-American Tourism Congress will help the Americas to forge strategic business alliances for developing sustainable tourism. We hope that we will devise ways to promote product innovation in a Connected World. We hope that we will foster multi-destination travel. We hope to lead our region to building Resilience in the Tourism Sector for greater sustainability.

The Organization of American States, Guyana and the Americas as a whole are looking forward to a productive and successful tourism congress in March. With the kind of energy and commitment I see at play, I am confident that we will all smile for satisfaction at the end of the congress.

Thank you and God bless you!

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