PRETORIA-- South African Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom and his counterparts from members of the Group of 20 (G20) leading developed and emerging economies have committed to creating more jobs and promoting entrepreneurship in tourism, especially for women and youth.

Hanekom, who attended the 8th G20 Tourism Ministers Meeting in Buenos Aires on Tuesday, said Thursday:

"The global focus on creating jobs in tourism fits in perfectly with South Africa's strategy to tackle unemployment, poverty and inequality through inclusive tourism growth.

"The digital revolution, and the sharing economy that it supports, is changing the nature of jobs in tourism.

We need to work together through platforms like the T20 to formulate policy and devise innovative strategies that create decent, meaningful work for the people who need it most."

The meeting noted that tourism accounts for 10 per cent of the world's gross domestic product (GDP), creates jobs within the sector and in many other linked sectors, and supports a higher share of employment for women and youth, as well as entrepreneurship and business opportunities in rural areas, compared with many other sectors of the economy. Tourism also contributes to the preservation of natural resources and cultural heritage.

The countries committed to establishing tourism innovation centres, incentives and programmes to stimulate innovation and entrepreneurship, and to link start-ups, main companies, investors and governments. They also agreed to create a global research network to track the changing demand for skills due to the technological revolution, and to promote policies and initiatives that promote innovation in tourism.

The meeting was also attended by representatives of the European Commission, the International Labour Organization, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, the United Nations World Tourism Organization and the World Travel and Tourism Council.

Hanekom was also scheduled to attend the World Travel and Tourism Council meeting in Buenos Aires on Thursday. The WTTC, which includes business leaders in the travel and tourism sector and chief executives of the world's leading tourism companies, seeks to raise awareness of the economic significance of tourism, which now supports about 292 million jobs throughout the world.