Sustainable tourism is a key economic driver for the Asia-Pacific region, creating jobs and promoting investment and development.
To help promote growth in travel and tourism in the region, the Tourism Working Group (TWG) was formed in 1991. It brings tourism administrators together to share information, exchange views and develop areas of cooperation on tourism trade and policies.
The TWG's objective is to foster economic development in the Asia-Pacific region through sustainable tourism, recognizing that: tourism is one the region's fastest growing industries and is of significant importance to the economic development of APEC economies; tourism is important in fostering regional understanding and cooperation; the tourism industry in member economies is at different levels of development; and member economies share the common goal of quality development and services.
The APEC Tourism Charter, endorsed at the 1st Tourism Ministerial Meeting in Korea in 2000, constitutes the basis for APEC tourism cooperation. The Charter reflects a collective commitment to improve the economic, cultural, social and environmental well-being of APEC member economies through tourism. It establishes four key policy goals and an agreed process for realising these aims:
Removal of impediments to tourism business and investment
Increase mobility of visitors and demand for tourism goods and services
Sustainable management of tourism outcomes and impacts
Enhance recognition and understanding of tourism as a vehicle for economic and social development
In 2012, three projects are expected to help tourism development in APEC:
- Project TWG 01 2011A “Creating Business Growth Opportunities in the New APEC Economy”. The project seeks to identify business growth opportunities and challenges that need to be addressed. The project is still ongoing and results were reported to the TWG41 in Khabarovsk, 22-23 July 2012. Final report will be made available in due course.
- Project TWG 02 2011A - Destination APEC 2020: A Conference on Enhancing Tourism and Air Transport Connectivity in the Asia-Pacific Region. A conference on this issue was held in February 2012 in Manila. The result of the workshop has finalized and is available for download.
- Project TWG 03 11A Sustainable Development of Touristic Destinations. This project seeks to identify and promote best practices for the adoption of sustainable tourism principles for tourism businesses and destinations. A workshop on this issue will be held in Australia in October 2012.
As encouraged by the TMM7, the TWG will also explore further cooperation on tourism with the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in order to create synergies in pursuing the interests of the tourism industry. A joint forum between the APEC and OECD will be held to discuss issue of common concern such as: travel facilitation, and measures of competitiveness in tourism.
The 7th Tourism Ministerial Meeting (TMM7) was held in Khabarovsk, Russia on 23-24 July 2012 with the theme "Tourism Facilitation for a Robust Economy of the Asia-Pacific."
The TMM7 discussed several sub-themes/issues, following up the 2010 TMM6, as well as other new initiatives. The Ministers’ discussions and decisions were captured in the Khabarovsk Declaration. Highlights of the TMM7 declaration include:
- The acknowledgement of tourism as providing direct and indirect channels for sourcing economic growth through cross-border trade and investment, and supports supply chains in services and related employment;
- The adoption of APEC Tourism Strategic Plan (ATSP) as the operational framework for our future work in 2012-2015;
- The endorsement of the APEC Guidelines on Ensuring Tourist Safety which will provide member economies with best-practice information, useful in designing measures to better protect tourists home and abroad;
- The instruction for Tourism Working Group to support the implementation of the Travel Facilitation Initiative (TFI), and to increase its participation in TFI components;
- The recognition of the role and benefits of air transport and the reaffirmation of the importance of assessing air connectivity in the Asia-Pacific, the liberalisation of air transport services and the measurement of its subsequent impact on tourist flows in the region;
- The support for further implementation of sustainable tourism activities and promote investment in sustainable tourism as recognized in the outcome of Rio+20 (the UN Conference on Sustainable Development) on 20-22 June 2012, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil;
- The need for APEC to work urgently on assessing the implications for travel and tourism of aviation-related taxes.
Javier Esteban Guillermo Molina (Mr)
Advisor of International Affairs
Ministry of Tourism
Presidente Masaryk 172
Col. Bosques de Chapultepec 11580, México DF
Tel: +52 1 (55) 4566 5038
Thanawat SIRIKUL (Mr)