Mercosur country members with support from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the World Tourism Organization will cooperate in the promotion of tourism focusing on improved and harmonized statistics, strengthening governance and promoting investment in the industry in the region.
The cooperation program, which will run until the end of 2012, got underway with a Workshop on Tourism Statistics for the Southern Cone countries held in Montevideo in collaboration with the Ministry of Tourism of Uruguay.
Representatives from tourism administrations, national statistics offices and central banks participated in the workshop which basically set the foundations for increased coordination in tourism measurement.
The statistics component of the program aims to reinforce governance and tourism policy in Uruguay, Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Chile by providing reliable and harmonized tourism indicators and data. The project is part of IDB and WTO objectives of improving national tourism statistics systems and accelerating regional integration. The statistics component further includes the development of a Regional Tourism Observatory.
In the area of tourism governance, IDB and the WTO will collaborate to set out a framework for tourism governance at the national and regional levels. Special attention will be given to tourism promotion organizations.
The third activity is focused on the promotion of direct private investment, as well as on public investment strategies. Research will be carried out on the key factors driving private investment decisions including legislation, fiscal policy, credit lines, warrants, administrative procedures and capital movement.
In the area of public investment WTO and IDB will focus on the transversal character of tourism and the fact that most investment decisions which impact the sector are taken by multiple areas in government.
The tourism industry is one of the largest and fastest growing in the region, and plays a critical role in creating jobs, providing foreign currency and generating and distributing wealth.
In 2010, Latin American and Caribbean destinations received around 74 million international tourist arrivals. In 2009, tourism to the region generated just over 58 billion in international tourism receipts according to WTO statistics.