[Avionics Today 09-16-2015] The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and the United Nation’s World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) have announced a new joint strategic statement on tourism and air transport for development. The Medellin Statement highlights the global importance of air transport and tourism to improving the socio-economic prosperity of states and regions, and to realizing the new United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs), which will be agreed at the UN SDG Summit next week in New York.
“With increased connectivity warranting long-term growth for aviation and tourism, our interlinked sectors represent lasting opportunities for socio-economic development. Yet if we are to harness these benefits, tourism and air transport must address persisting divergent policies and work toward a stronger, integrated position on inter-sectorial issues, such as travel facilitation, market access, taxation or infrastructure development. As the global inter-governmental bodies responsible for tourism and aviation, UNWTO and ICAO are obliged to lead by example and pave the way for closer and more effective cooperation at all levels,” said UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai, at the first joint UNWTO/ICAO High-Level Forum on Tourism and Air Transport for Development held on the sidelines of the 21st UNWTO General Assembly in Medellin, Colombia.
The policy-makers and regulators at the forum discussed challenges relating to policy convergence, the need for enhanced connectivity between flight destinations, air transport operator competitiveness, and travel facilitation for the more than 3.3 billion passengers who presently make use of air travel each year for their business or leisure needs.