MONTEVIDEO – Uruguay’s Tourism Ministry needs more private sector support, an essential element for a successful National Social Tourism System, International Organization for Social Tourism in the Americas (OITS) director Veronica Gomez said on Wednesday.
Social tourism seeks “to give access to the largest number of people to tourism and vacations,” with trips to tourist attractions with quality and affordable prices, Gomez said.
The program aims to serve “workers, people with disabilities, young people and senior citizens,” and it especially focuses “on people with low incomes,” Gomez said.
The success of this type of tourism “depends on continuity of public policies, the private sector’s commitment and not leaving behind the communities” where the activities are established, the OITS director said.
The National Social Tourism System (SNTS) “is a key and vital program” because it works off the recognition of a “human right,” Uruguayan Tourism Minister Liliam Kechichian said.
SNTS coordinator Alberto Torelli, for his part, said the program started in 2009 “as a result of a call for bids from the private sector to promote domestic tourism with $900,000 in compensation.”
After 15 months, the program was cancelled since there were no bids, Torelli said.
Nearly 90,000 people sponsored by the SNTS tour the country each year, including “teenagers, young people, students, workers and senior citizens,” Torelli said.
Workers and seniors qualify for the program if their incomes are less than $630 per month, Torelli said.