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G20 forum commits to strengthening tourism industry capacity to generate jobs

To promote entrepreneurship in tourism, especially for women and the youth, Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom and his G20 counterparts have committed their countries to create more jobs around the world.

World Travel & Tourism Council via Wikimedia Commons - Minister of Tourism, Derek Hanekom at the World Travel and Tourism Council's Global Summit in Buenos Aires.

The G20 forum, made up of tourism ministers from G20 countries aims to strengthen cooperation between advanced and emerging countries and forms part of the T20 group. After signing the statement at the annual meeting in Buenos Aires, Hanekom said: "The global focus on creating jobs in tourism fits in perfectly with South Africa's strategy to tackle unemployment, poverty and inequality through inclusive tourism growth.

"The digital revolution, and the sharing economy that it supports is changing the nature of jobs in tourism. We need to work together through platforms like the T20 to formulate policy and devise innovative strategies that create decent, meaningful work for the people who need it most."

The T20 statement notes that tourism accounts for 10% of the world's gross domestic product (GDP).

Growing innovation and entrepreneurship opportunities

Tourism creates jobs within the sector and in many other linked sectors and supports a higher share of employment for women and the youth, entrepreneurship and business opportunities in rural areas compared to many other sectors of the economy. It also contributes to the preservation of natural resources and cultural heritage.

The statement committed all member countries to establishing tourism innovation centres, incentives and programmes to stimulate innovation and entrepreneurship, and to link startups, main companies, investors and governments. The T20 countries agreed to create a global research network to track the changing demand for skills due to the technological revolution and to promote policies and initiatives that promote innovation in tourism.

Tourism as an engine for employment

Tourism in South Africa now supports about 686,000 direct jobs (4.4% of total employment) and 1.5 million direct and indirect jobs.

"These discussions about global best practice are essential in devising appropriate policies to support inclusive growth in tourism and the jobs that will come with it.

"We are confident that we can achieve the National Tourism Sector Strategy's target of supporting one million direct jobs in tourism by 2026. We will learn from the experience of other G20 economies, and continue working together with our partners in industry, in training institutions and in communities, to grow tourism inclusively," concluded Hanekom.
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