Tourism minister Margaret Hodge will be among the speakers at the world’s largest Tourism Ministers’ Summit on Climate Change at World Travel Market.

Up to 300 top politicians, senior aides, environmental experts and representatives from the United Nations will meet on Tuesday November 13 to address what is now thought to be the most important challenge facing the international industry.

World Travel Market 2007 logoThe summit, organised by the United Nations World Tourism Organization, United Nations Environment programme and the World Meteorological Organisation, will be held in the Platinum Suite at ExCeL, and broadcast to WTM delegates on giant screens in the Central Boulevard.

The outcome and findings will be presented at the United Nations Summit on Climate Change in Bali in December.

“WTM will be at the very heart of one of the most universally difficult problems facing everyone who works in the industry”, said WTM chairwoman Fiona Jeffery.

“Tourism is highly sensitive to the impact of climate change and global warming and it is up to all of us to take action now, before it is too late.”

The recommended Declaration, drafted earlier in the month at a meeting in Davos, Switzerland, will be put before ministers at WTM. It urges action by tourism to face climate change “as one of the greatest challenges to sustainable development and to the Millennium Development Goals in the 21st century.”

Jeffery added: “The UNWTO has identified extreme poverty and climate change as two of the key issues with  global impact.

“It is therefore highly appropriate and right that the UNWTO and World Travel Market work together”.

 “It is important to remember that tourism is not just a potential victim of climate change – although that in itself is of grave concern – but also contributes to its causes.

“Every one of us has to be concerned, involved and committed to protecting our world and our industry, not only for now, but for future generations.”