Nusa Dua, Bali (ANTARA News) - President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono received an Open Letter from the secretary general of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNTWO), Taleb Rifai, that acknowledges Indonesia`s commitment to progress in the tourism sector.

Indonesia was the first Asian country to receive the letter, Tourism and Culture Minister Jero Wacik told the press following a meeting between President Yudhoyono and UNWTO Secretary General Taleb Rifai at Laguna Hotel here Saturday.

"UNWTO considers Indonesia a country that has a very high commitment to promoting tourism. And according to the UNWTO secretary general, Indonesia is the first Asian nation the UNWTO has presented with the `Commitment Letter`," the minister said.

Indonesia views the tourism sector as an industry which can create jobs, boost economic growth, reduce poverty and is friendly to the environment.

UNWTO also recognized that Indonesia`s tourism sector has developed significantly over the past ten years, he added.

"He (Rifai) said there is a golden opportunity for Indonesia because many investors want to come to Indonesia to do business or engage in productive activities," Jero Wacik said.

Rifai is in Bali to speak at a three-day Seminar on "Tourism Ethics For Asia And The Pacific" participated in by around 160 delegates from Asia and Pacific countries.

UNWTO and the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) are jointly presenting the Open Letter to heads of state and government around the world, calling on political leaders to acknowledge tourism`s role in facing global challenges and prioritize the sector high in national policies in order to maximize its potential to deliver on sustained and balanced growth.

Travel and Tourism is today one of the world`s biggest generators of employment and export earnings, and a key driver for economic growth and development.

Travel and Tourism currently accounts directly and indirectly for about 3% to 5% of global GDP, as well as 30% of the world?s export of services.

The total contribution of Travel & Tourism to employment - including jobs indirectly supported by the sector - is estimated at 7% to 8%.


Editor: Suryanto
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