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Message by the Minister of Industry, Energy and Tourism of Spain, José Manuel Soria López
On behalf of the Government of Spain, I wish to express our great pleasure to be hosting World Tourism Day in 2012 and at having been chosen on the basis of our status as a force in world tourism and as pioneers in renewable energy sources such as solar photovoltaics, in which we are number one in the world, and wind power, where we are number two.
This selection to host an event of such great interest elicits a strong sense of commitment on our part to ensuring that this forum—an opportunity to meet and reflect—enjoys a high level of success commensurate to the importance of the celebration. We are convinced that it will be a good occasion to share our experience and knowledge in two fields, tourism and sustainability, that are very important for the development and well-being of our peoples.
For our Government, the tourism sector constitutes a real priority because it is an important asset for the creation of wealth and employment, and ultimately, for our economic recovery. Tourism accounts for 10.2% of GDP and 11% of jobs, and performs with great dynamism and strength even in times of crisis. We are therefore designing a Comprehensive Tourism Plan with the consensus and involvement of all actors, both public and private, that will foster a more favourable environment for the development and consolidation of the tourism sector.
We are also very happy to have the UNWTO’s headquarters in Madrid, which makes for very fluid and fruitful collaboration that, I am convinced, will continue for a long time to come. Cooperation is key in order to emerge from this deep crisis, and our relationship with the UNWTO is a good example in this regard.
Lastly, I wish to welcome you to our country, where I hope you will also have some time to enjoy our considerable natural and cultural heritage. We are very excited about the celebration of WTD on 27 September, which we have organized in collaboration with the UNWTO in San Bartolomé de Tirajana, Gran Canaria. It is our hope that this date will constitute another step towards the recognition of the tourism sector's crucial economic and social contribution and the importance of renewable energy for social, economic and environmental sustainability.