Connecting Asia-Pacific Tourism through Travel Facilitation
May 28 - 29, 2016
- We, the APEC Tourism Ministers and senior representatives from Australia; Brunei Darussalam; Canada; Chile; People's Republic of 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 at the 9th APEC Tourism Ministerial Meeting (TMM) in Lima, Peru on 28-29 May, 2016. The meeting was chaired by H.E. Ms. Magali Silva, Minister of Foreign Trade and Tourism of Peru.
- We gathered under the theme of APEC Peru 2016 "Quality Growth and Human Development", focusing on the following APEC 2016 priorities: advancing regional economic integration, enhancing the regional food market, working on the modernization of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs), and developing human capital.
- We congregated under the TMM theme of "Connecting Asia-Pacific Tourism through Travel Facilitation", to emphasize air connectivity and travel facilitation as key catalysts to further enhance economic development through travel and tourism in the APEC region. We believe that encouraging strategies to support a more connected Asia-Pacific region that fosters efficient and secure travel could greatly help us in achieving the target of 800 million international tourists among APEC economies by 2025 as agreed to in the Macao Declaration and supported by the Leaders in 2014.
- We recognize travel facilitation and air connectivity are key factors for economic and regional development as well as for destination competitiveness and catalysts for quality growth of the tourism sector. As the world’s largest air passenger market, the movement of travelers across the Asia-Pacific region for both business and tourism is key to promoting economic growth, trade, and regional economic integration.
- We seek the consideration of APEC’s Leaders, to include in their Declaration, a statement on the importance of travel and tourism as a vehicle for job creation, economic growth, sustainable development, and peace. Overall, according to World Travel and Tourism Council, in 2015 travel and tourism commanded USD 1.2 trillion of the region's GDP, supported 48 million jobs directly (3.2%) and contributed 5.5% of the region’s exports. Furthermore, according to the APEC Policy Support Unit (PSU), every 10% increase in tourist arrivals is associated with a 1.2% increase in exports and 0.8% increase in imports (in the destination economy).
- We commend the issue paper on Tourist Arrivals and Inclusive Growth prepared by PSU and the Philippines, which demonstrates the effectiveness of tourism contribution to sustainable development and poverty reduction in the APEC region. Through policies to facilitate travel and improve air connectivity in the APEC region, tourism growth can achieve significant levels that will boost trade, investments, and job creation. At the same time, tourism growth can also stimulate the expansion of MSMEs to gain global market access, skills trainings and career paths, and financial resources.
- We salute the efforts of the Tourism Working Group (TWG) to consistently produce concrete deliverables based on the APEC Tourism Working Group Strategic Plan 2015-2019 (ATSP) as an important document that enhances our efforts to promote sustainable and inclusive tourism development in the region. We highlight that the four ATSP priorities intrinsically foster a competitive and sustainable environment for a connected and robust tourism sector:
||promote better understanding and recognition of tourism as an engine for economic growth and prosperity in the APEC region;
||ensure sustainable and inclusive growth in the travel and tourism sector by encouraging socially and culturally responsible tourism;
||promote labor, skills development and certification through increased cooperation in order to develop the tourism workforce in the region; and
||promote competitiveness and regional economic integration through policy alignment and structural reform.
- We welcome the APEC Travel Facilitation Initiative’s (TFI) progress in enhancing people-to-people connectivity and note its relevance to APEC’s strategic priorities. We welcome the recommendations of the TFI mid-term assessment and instruct the TWG to consider how it can increase its contributions to making travel easier, faster and more secure. We are confident that TFI initiatives, such as the APEC Business Travel Card (ABTC), the APEC-endorsed Trusted Traveller Characteristics, the lessons learned on Advance Passenger Information (API) and Passenger Name Record (PNR), TWG projects on developing air connectivity in the APEC region and developing traveler-friendly airports in the APEC region, will support tourism growth in the APEC Region.
- We consider travel facilitation as a central issue for tourism policy to support increasing tourism demand while satisfying visitors’ expectations at points of entry and exit within the region. In this regard, we acknowledge the importance of moving forward with efforts to develop smart traveller programmes and visa facilitation agreements.
- We are confident that improvements in travel facilitation can generate a better experience for the traveler; increase operational efficiency; reduce costs for regulators and industry; and result in better management by the public sector. We urge members to develop Trusted Traveler Programs and utilize advance information such as API and PNR in order to ensure safe, secure and efficient travel.
- We strongly believe that strengthening tourism cooperation on air connectivity among the APEC economies – based on the goal of market access liberalization – is a central topic for the development of the region; furthermore, it is also important to take into consideration the development of air connectivity within the member economies. Increased international and domestic connectivity can help regionally distribute the social and economic benefits of tourism.
- We encourage members to work with relevant sub-fora, including the APEC Transportation Working Group (TPTWG) to develop an implementation strategy to connect air transport hubs in the Asia-Pacific and to increase tourism flows by engaging the private sector. The TWG Project “Develop Air Connectivity in the APEC Region” can help inform a strategy to further connect the Asia-Pacific and foster a more efficient flow of goods, services, capital and people. For example, 60% of APEC economies have direct air service with other APEC economies.
- We consider that tourism is a fundamental sector for achieving inclusive growth when it makes responsible use of environmental resources, respecting the authenticity of host communities and equitably distributing socio-economic benefits within the destinations. We encourage the TWG to pursue work that supports sustainable tourism development in the region.
- We commit to fostering a competitive environment for tourism related MSMEs that are linked to Global Value Chains. We acknowledge that MSMEs promote tourism innovation and when provided with global market access, they contribute to sustainable and inclusive growth in the APEC region.
- We recognize that engaging academic and research institutions can be a powerful tool in disseminating the work of the TWG and underscoring the importance of tourism in the APEC region. We encourage the TWG to work closely with academic and research institutions to enhance the outcomes and sustainability of TWG Projects and disseminate its results among researchers and generations to come.
- We acknowledge that tourism is specifically featured in three of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), namely Goals 8, 12 and 14 on inclusive and sustainable economic growth, sustainable consumption and production, and the sustainable use of oceans and marine resources, respectively, and yet has the potential to contribute to all SDGs in view of its cross-cutting nature. In addition, we salute that the United Nations General Assembly has recently adopted 2017 as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development. In this regard, we pledge to advocate for joint actions within the framework of APEC to support the celebration of the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development and to foster domestic and regional tourism policies that support the SDGs.
- We encourage the TWG to engage in joint activities and increase its cooperation with the TPTWG, the Business Mobility Group, the Telecommunications and Information Working Group, the Sub-Committee on Customs Procedures, the Counter-Terrorism Working Group, the Group on Services, the Policy Partnership on Science, Technology and Innovation, the Human Resources Development Working Group, the SME Working Group, and the Oceans and Fisheries Working Group, and other relevant APEC fora. Considering that tourism is a cross-cutting sector that can positively impact other sectors, we believe the following mechanisms can help develop concrete results out of this collaborative work: (1) jointly launch cross-cutting initiatives, events or projects related to the ATSP priorities; (2) TWG representatives to participate in APEC meetings of the working groups mentioned above as well as invite representatives of such fora to participate in TWG meetings; and (3) identify a work plan with common priorities among these fora, particularly related to air connectivity and travel facilitation.
- We welcome the report of the TWG Lead Shepherd on the TWG activities since the last TMM in 2014. We commend the TWG’s efforts in engaging APEC members in fostering a competitive environment for tourism to make it grow as the backbone of economic and social development for our people. We recognize that active knowledge generation and sharing among TWG members constitutes a valuable resource to provide guidance for policymakers and practitioners. We agree to further disseminate its work among local public and private institutions.
- We encourage economies and guests of the TWG to actively engage in the discussion and activities of the working group by sharing best practices and policy recommendations to foster a tourism knowledge network that allows Ministers and High-Level Authorities to continue positioning tourism as a key driver for inclusive and quality growth. To this end, we recognize the importance of APEC tourism projects as a tool for stimulating tourism growth and for building capacity of tourism stakeholders. We urge a greater number of APEC member economies to proactively collaborate in formulating, engaging, and applying current and new projects based on the priorities of the ATSP.
- We recognize the potential of other international organizations and fora in the advancement of air connectivity and travel facilitation initiatives, considering its cross-sectoral nature and the necessity to advocate for regional and global policies that promote efficient and secure travel.
- We look forward to the next TMM to be held in 2018 in Papua New Guinea, and ask that the themes discussed today are given continuity in forthcoming tourism meetings.
- We express our appreciation for the participation of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and the World Travel and Tourism Council as guests to the 9th TMM and stress the importance of pursuing closer collaboration with these leading organizations in the future. We also deeply appreciate the effort and contribution of the APEC Secretariat and the TWG Lead Shepherd for the success of the meeting. We heartily thank Peru as the host economy for its warm hospitality and the fruitful and productive TWG and Ministerial meetings, and highlight the effort of the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Tourism in the organization of these meetings.