WTO: Liberalization of access to tourism services market discussed under Kazakh chairmanship
GENEVA. KAZINFORM At the headquarter of World Trade Organization (WTO), Permanent Representative of the Republic of Kazakhstan to the WTO Zhanar Aitzhanova chaired the 4th session of the Special Session of the Council for Trade in Services. The meeting discussed the proposal from Chile, Mexico, New Zealand and Panama, according to the Kazakh Foreign Office.
According to the WTO, travel represented 25% of world commercial services exports in 2017, and it accounted for 32% of services exports of developing countries. In 2017 tourism sector accounted for 3.2% of global GDP and 3.8% of global employment. International tourist arrivals increased by 6.8%, reaching 1.3 billion, more than twice the number of arrivals from 2000.
Almost all WTO Members (144 out of 164 Members) undertook commitments on market access of foreign companies in the tourism sector. Meantime, further liberalization facilitates encouraging investments into tourism sector and may contribute industry development. In this regard, Chile, Mexico, New Zealand and Panama proposed to kick start the discussions on improving market access openness in the tourism sector of WTO Members.
The vast majority of countries expressed support for the new proposal and highlighted the importance of improving commitments on access market in tourism for economic development and trade. Some WTO Members also expressed interest in improving market openness in the tourism related services sectors, such as recreational services, maritime transport, car rentals and construction services.
Noteworthy to say that Kazakhstan in its WTO accession package undertook broad commitments in order to encourage investments in tourism sector. The Government of Kazakhstan implements several programs to develop tourism infrastructure and increase significantly the share of the tourism sector in the country's GDP.
The Chair of the Special Session Zhanar Aitzhanova noted the interest of WTO Members to conduct discussions on the development of commitments in the tourism and other related services sectors and invited the delegations to circulate the submissions in accordance with their national interests.