APEC Tourism Ministers have concluded their meeting in Punta Arenas, in the South of Chile by endorsing the Patagonia Declaration on Tourism in the APEC Region.Issued at the conclusion of the 3rd APEC Tourism Ministers' Meeting in Punta Arenas, Chile, on October 13-14, the Declaration instructs APEC Tourism Working Group (TWG) Officials to implement a strategic plan to ensure the viability of the regional tourism industry.
"We instruct the TWG to undertake a strategic review to ensure a work program that addresses challenges affecting tourism in the coming years, for consideration by the Ministers in 2006," Ministers stated in the Patagonia Declaration."
The Declaration cites a number of key issues for officials to take into consideration including measuring sustainability, safety and security and projects to expand niche product development, such as sports and health tourism.
In making its recommendations the Declaration adopts the long-term policy goals that have been developed by the APEC Tourism Working Group. These goals seek to ensure that the tourism industry continues to develop through sustainably managed tourist facilities and that tourism is promoted as a vehicle for economic and social development. Theses aims are sought through removing impediments to investment in the tourism industry and improving the mobility of tourists in the region.
In the declaration Ministers also called for APEC Member Economies to share information broadly to be able to more accurately measure the economic size of the tourism industry and to be better prepared in the event of crises.
"We encourage all APEC member economies to continue work on Tourism Satellite Accounts to measure the precise value of tourism in their economies," Ministers stated.
"We underline the need to implement crisis management plans and to facilitate intra regional cooperation. We also encourage member economies to promote timely infrastructure development and information exchange within the APEC Region.
Tourism Ministers also supported a call made by numerous other APEC Ministerial Forums that the training and use of the English language be expanded for trade in the Asia-Pacific Region.
The Tourism Ministers' Meeting was chaired by Jorge Rodriguez, Minister Responsible for Tourism in Chile, and took place both in Punta Arenas, and on board the MN "Mare Australis" during a journey to major tourist sites in the Chilean channels located in Tierra del Fuego.
Tourism Ministers will remain in Punta Arenas overnight to take part in a technical tour (weather permitting) to either Antarctica or the Torres del Paine National Park on Friday.