Khabarovsk, Russia, 24 Jul 2012
2012 APEC Tourism Ministerial Meeting
Khabarovsk Declaration - Tourism Facilitation for a Robust Economy of the Asia-Pacific
- We, the APEC Tourism Ministers and our senior representatives from Australia; Brunei Darussalam; Canada; Chile; People's Republic of China; Hong Kong, China; Indonesia; Japan; Republic of Korea; Malaysia; Mexico; Papua New Guinea, Peru; Republic of the Philippines; Russian Federation; Singapore; Chinese Taipei; Thailand; United States of America, and Viet Nam, met in our 7th APEC Tourism Ministerial Meeting (TMM) in Khabarovsk, Russian Federation on 24 July, 2012. The meeting was chaired by H.E. Mr. Alexander Radkov, Head of the Federal Agency for Tourism, Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation.
- We gather under the theme of APEC Russia 2012 "Integrate to Grow, Innovate to Prosper", which encouraged members to take concrete measures to boost trade and investment in the Asia-Pacific, and to inclusively and comprehensively respond to global economic and financial challenges.
- We built our deliberations on the TMM theme of "Tourism Facilitation for a Robust Economy of the Asia-Pacific", to strengthen stakeholder understanding of the economic benefits of facilitating and securing cross-border tourist flows. Tourism provides direct and indirect channels for sourcing economic growth through cross-border trade and investment, and supports supply chains in services and related employment. In this regard, we seek the consideration of our Leaders to include in their Declaration of Vladivostok, a statement on the importance of travel and tourism as a vehicle for job creation, economic growth, and development. And we commit to work to facilitate travel in order to increase tourism flows.
- We commend the Tourism Working Group (TWG) efforts to develop and adopt an APEC Tourism Strategic Plan (ATSP) as the operational framework for our future work in 2012-2015. We note that the TWG actively engages member economies in the implementation of the ATSP through sharing experiences and “lessons learnt” along four major goals: (1) promote better understanding and recognition of tourism as an engine for growth and prosperity in the APEC region; (2) ensure inclusive growth in the travel and tourism sector by encouraging socially and culturally responsible tourism; (3) promote and enhance sustainability of businesses and destinations by providing an enabling environment based on sound principles of sustainable tourism; and (4) promote efficiency and regional economic integration through policy alignment and structural reform. We encourage members to further implement the ATSP with the view to generating relevant policy advice that will enhance domestic tourism policies and programmes.
- We note with concern the implementation of aviation-related taxes and ask the TWG to work urgently with the Transport Working Group to assess the implications for travel and tourism of these new aviation-related taxes.
- We recognize that safety is a part of the tourist product and signifies a higher quality of tourist service. The tourism potential of a destination may be fully realized by providing a safe environment where threats to tourists’ life, health or personal integrity are effectively addressed. However, foreign tourists may be particularly vulnerable due to barriers to communications, lack of accurate information, and lack of knowledge of local customs and laws. In providing member economies with best-practice information, useful in designing measures to better protect tourists home and abroad, we endorsed the APEC Guidelines on Ensuring Tourist Safety. We encourage members to consider practical and focused action to implement the provisions of the Guidelines.
- We welcomed the launch of the APEC Travel Facilitation Initiative (TFI) in which tourism officials and the private sector are direct stakeholders. The TFI, with the objective of expediting the movement of travellers across the Asia-Pacific region, enabling more efficient, more secure, and less stressful travel, is expected to provide a valuable contribution to establishing the free flow of tourists within the APEC region. We instruct the TWG to support the implementation of the TFI, and to increase its participation in TFI components.
- We recognize the role and benefits of air transport and reaffirm 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. Building on the outcome of the Destination APEC 2020: A Conference on Enhancing Tourism and Air Transport Connectivity in the Asia-Pacific Region, held in the Philippines, February 2012, we encourage the TWG to share best practices and provide tools to assist Member economies implement their international air transport policies with a view of supporting the development of their respective tourism sectors. We expect further studies on the competition policies to promote sustainable air connectivity across APEC economies, and the entry of more local and foreign airlines. To this end, we endorse a closer engagement of the TWG with TPTWG and IATA.
- We recognize the work done by the Tourism Ministers of the countries of the G20, led by Mexico, and encourage the APEC economies to implement travel facilitation processes as a conduit for job creation and economic growth. We instruct the Tourism Working Group to further work to promote transparent and effective travel and visa facilitation in order to increase travel and tourism and work on preparing a study of the impact of visa facilitation on job creation for the APEC region.
- We recognize the role of the tourism officials and international organizations led by the Republic of Korea in lobbying for the recognition of tourism as a significant contributor to the economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainable development in the official outcome of Rio+20 (the UN Conference on Sustainable Development) on 20-22 June 2012, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. We therefore encourage APEC economies to further implement sustainable tourism activities and promote investment in sustainable tourism including eco-tourism and cultural tourism and relevant capacity-building on environmental awareness, while establishing appropriate guidelines and regulations for supporting sustainable tourism.
- We acknowledge the report of the TWG Lead Shepherd on the TWG activities since the last TMM in 2010. We commend TWG’s efforts to step up cooperation and learning among APEC members, increase awareness of tourism and its role as an economic driver within the APEC region, and to provide guidance to policy developers and decision makers in APEC on issues relating to and impacting on tourism. We support the initiatives that provide greater exposure of TWG to APEC officials and the general public, including through social media channels.
- We recognize the importance of APEC tourism projects developed and implemented by member economies, which encourage the sustainable economic growth of tourism in the Asia-Pacific region, and build the capacity of the developing member economies. We encourage a greater number of APEC member economies to participate in the formulation, presentation, and implementation of new projects following ASTP.
- We encourage TWG to step up cooperation with other international fora to create synergies in pursuing the interests of the tourism industry. We therefore welcome the proposed OECD -– APEC TWG forum on tourism to be organized in the Republic of Korea in September 2012.
- We look forward to the next Ministerial Meeting to be held in 2014.
- We express our appreciation for the participation of UNWTO, IATA, WTTC, PATA, AICST and OECD as guests to the 7th TMM and stress the importance of pursuing closer collaboration with them in the future. We also deeply appreciate the effort and contribution of the APEC Secretariat and the Lead Shepherd for the success of the meeting. We heartily thank the Russian Federation as the host economy for the fruitful and productive Working Group and Ministerial Meetings.
 List of Attendance appear as Annex A
 Suggested paragraph wording appears as Annex B
 APEC Guidelines on Ensuring Tourist Safety appears as Annex C
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