A comprehensive approach to tourism development that prioritizes growth, sustainability, progress and sharing is the key to building greater, more rewarding industry cooperation within the Asia-Pacific.
This was the conclusion of a recent APEC Tourism Working Group meeting in Chinese Taipei which brought together officials and private sector representatives to map out the way forward for enhancing the effectiveness of one of the region’s most important economic pillars.
“Tourism has proven to be a vital source of revenue and job creation within APEC economies,” said Javier Esteban Guillermo Molina, APEC Tourism Working Group Lead Shepherd. “Moving forward, it also has the potential to contribute to sustainable and inclusive development, aided by the exchange of ideas and lessons between people.”
In 2011, tourism accounted for 8.3 percent of GDP and 8.4 percent of employment in Asia, respectively, according to the World Travel and Tourism Council.
Delegates agreed that in order to build tourism business and destination sustainability, and open the door to broader industry involvement, APEC members must consider a wide range of issues and stakeholders as they address tourism development, reflecting the industry’s complex, cross-cutting nature.
APEC is answering the call by delivering a host of projects and workshops that support tourism business growth, job creation and infrastructure development.
Delegates vowed to take continuous steps to enhance dialogue and collaboration between APEC economies, businesses and industry groups with regard to transportation, particularly air connectivity, which they cited as a central enabler of tourism development in the Asia-Pacific.
The implementation of APEC’s Travel Facilitation Initiative, designed to improve traveler mobility in the region, is a key example of this commitment and was among the topics examined at the meeting.
Tourist security and safety was also identified as a critical focus area given the industry’s vulnerability. Addressing this issue is crucial to ensuring tourist confidence and boosting arrival numbers.
The findings will be reported to the 7th Tourism Ministerial Meeting in July 2012 in Khabarovsk, Russia.
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