El Salvador highlights importance of tourism in fighting poverty


The Permanent Executive Committee of the Inter-American Council for Integral Development ( CEPCIDI ) of the Organization of American States ( OAS ) today welcomed the Minister of Tourism of El Salvador, José Napoleón Duarte, who highlighted the importance of tourism in fighting poverty, the theme of the XIX Inter-American Travel Congress to be held September 29 and 30, 2011, in San Salvador.

The Chair of CEPCIDI and Permanent Representative of Colombia to the OAS, Ambassador Luis Alfonso Hoyos Aristizábal, highlighted the important role the Central American country will play this year at the inter-American level, not only as the host of the Travel Congress, but also as the host of the XLI OAS General Assembly, to be held in San Salvador from June 5 to 7. “This is a year of much activity and great intensity in the relationship of El Salvador with this multilateral organization,” he said.

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Ambassador Hoyos also emphasized that the relevance of the ministerial meeting in San Salvador “not only is rooted in the economic significance of tourism, but also in its social significance,” underlining the need to seek “a more inclusive society where development can reach more of the population that has been excluded from development.”

The XIX Inter-American Travel Congress will be celebrated, according to the proposal by Minister Duarte, under the title, “Tourism, a challenge in the face of poverty: business competitiveness as a tool for tourism development.” The Salvadoran Government representative said the objective of the meeting is “to strategically propose a broad vision for economic and political institutional social inclusion in the global tourism industry.” The meeting seeks to convene ministers in this sector from throughout the continent.

In his presentation, the Salvadoran Minister highlighted the importance of the tourism industry in the development of social and economic benefits. “I am convinced that tourism is a sector that is part of the economy of a country fomenting the expansion of micro, small and medium business owners that work in the poor rural areas of the continent and have placed their hopes on this sector,” he said. Therefore, he added, “to reach a level of competitiveness in tourism we need to develop an agenda, a work of partnerships, and to integrate it with all the countries of the hemisphere.”

He also emphasized that though tourism in some countries has recovered after the recent global economic crisis, “the statistics show us that a slower growth is expected for 2011, that recovery is expected at a slower pace for this year.” Because local economies have not replaced the loss of jobs caused by the crisis, he continued, it is yet more important “to address this theme suggested by El Salvador by proposing initiatives that bring better opportunities for growth to our people who live from tourism.”

Finally, Minister Duarte talked about four subthemes within the principal theme of the Congress: public-private partnerships to foment investment and development; cultural and patrimonial tourism; corporate social responsibility; and quality sustainable tourism. The Salvadoran representative said he will work on a proposal for a declaration of the Congress and submit it for approval in March in the framework of the OAS, an organization he said “carries out a fundamental role in the Americas, understands the relevance that the tourism industry has for the development of many of its Member States, and perceives tourism as a significant indicator of the democratic characteristics of a country.”

The OAS Executive Secretary for Integral Development, Ambassador Mauricio Cortés Costa, congratulated the Salvadoran delegate for his presentation and the Government of his country for undertaking such an important initiative. During the meeting, held at OAS headquarters in Washington, DC, the following missions also took the floor: Venezuela, Belize, Chile, Mexico, Brazil, The Bahamas, Antigua and Barbuda, Peru, Jamaica, Dominican Republic, United States, Ecuador and El Salvador.