About the Congress

The Inter American Travel Congress (IATC) was established in 1939 and is the principal forum for hemispheric dialogue and the formulation of tourism policies. It pre-dates the official formation of the Organization of American States in 1948 and the entering into force of the OAS Charter in December 1951. The Congress was conceived to promote the sustainable development of tourism in the Americas through the organization of a series of hemispheric congresses dealing with relevant technical matters and developing Inter-American cooperation in the tourism sector.

The IATC serves as an important platform for the exchange of experiences and best practices and provides a mechanism to: sponsor technical studies, strengthen communication between government agencies and the private sector, consider technical cooperation proposals, and support member states in their efforts to develop the tourism sector. The IATC fosters the adoption of official agreements among governments relating to the tourism industry; encourages comparative studies and technical projects focusing on responsible tourism development; and coordinates activities of intergovernmental and private organizations in the area of tourism development.

At the XVIII Inter American Travel Congress, held in Guatemala, June18-20 2003 the central theme was "New Challenges of the Tourism Sector and Hemispheric Responses to Sustain Recovery and Growth." The participants in the XIX Congress recognized inter alia that tourism is an important economic and social force for improving quality of life in the Hemisphere; that tourism is a key element for the economic and social growth and sustainable development of our countries, and should constitute state policy; the vital role of cooperation in confronting the new challenges being faced by the tourism sector. They agreed on an Plan of Action in collaboration with the private sector to promote tourism as an integral part of development programs; strengthen collaboration among authorities and relevant entities of the tourism sector, international, regional and sub-regional organizations, and representatives of the private sector and civil society; and to support training and human resource development in the tourism industry in order to enhance the competitiveness, quality, and excellence of the tourism sector. For more information on the Congress please see XVIII Inter-American Travel Congress FINAL ACT.

The XIX Inter-American Travel Congress will be held in San Salvador, El Salvador, in September 29-30, 2011 and will focus on the topic "Tourism, a Challenge to Poverty". Other significant issues including the importance of public-private partnerships to promote investment and tourism development, cultural and heritage tourism, corporate social responsibility (CSR) in the tourism sector, and challenges to sustainable tourism will be discussed at the plenary sessions.