Delegates are attending the opening sessions of the World Travel & Tourism Council Asia Summit in Seoul, South Korea.
The event this year focuses on ‘Staying Ahead of Tomorrow’, encapsulating the region’s global lead in technology development; consumer understanding across different cultures; planning ahead for infrastructure build; launching new product; and developing human capital.
WTTC president David Scowsill explains: “With Asia set to dominate world economic development, tourism will play a key role, growing at five to seven per cent per annum over the next decade.
“This growth will generate over 47 million new jobs in the region.
“This regional growth will impact tourism around the world, with expanding numbers of Asian travellers making their mark in the global marketplace.
“The challenges in meeting this growth command the attention of all the global players in the industry, as well as the top political leaders worldwide.”
The WTTC Asia Summit will provide the opportunity for an exchange between private and public sector, and it will tackle some of the critical pressing issues facing tourism in the region today.
The Asia Summit will be attended by some of the region’s most influential business leaders and decision makers, joined by speakers who will talk about global trends and key issues that impact the region from other parts of the world.
Here Breaking Travel News takes a look at tourism in what is on offer at the event.
WTTC Asia Summit
Powerhouse of the world economy: The first session of the event will examine Asia’s increasingly important political, economic and social place in the world.
World renowned economic and political commentators will look at growth forecasts, trade flows and the politics that affect them.
They will explore the implications of regional growth and politics on how businesses can operate and compete and the challenges new growth will bring both inside and outside the region.
Asia: Powering global tourism: The second session follows the macro evaluation of the region and will consider tourism growth in Asia over the next ten years and how the socio-economic situation discussed in the first session will impact the industry.
It will explore differences across Asia and how destinations and companies can benefit from rising wealth and increasing demand from within their own countries, regionally and internationally.
Korea: Huge potential. Big questions: Having looked at the Asia region from two different perspectives WTTC will seek to shine the spotlight on hosts, Korea.
In 2012 Korea’s tourism industry grew faster than any other country in the region.
But as much of this was down to the recovery in Japanese tourism after the Tsunami in 2011, the key is to ensure that this growth continues.
The Visit Korea 2010-2012 initiative has successfully delivered an increase in visitor numbers and raised awareness of the country overseas, but the country continues to face challenges.
Not least the long-running geo-political situation, but also the increasing polarisation within Korean society.
Removing the barriers: Improving visa policies and facilitating visa processes are a priority focus for WTTC and its Global Travel Association Coalition partners.
Improvements to visa processes and policies can have a direct positive impact on visitor numbers, receipts and therefore GDP and jobs.
The past two years have seen some significant improvements in this arena, not least the formal recognition of its importance by the G20.
The aim of this session will be to explore the issue as it pertains to Asia and focus on current and future progress.
Tourism for Tomorrow: The single greatest challenge the industry faces as it grows will be to ensure that growth brings positive returns for host communities and the environment as well as businesses.
In April at its Global Summit in Abu Dhabi, WTTC launched ‘Tourism for Tomorrow’, a position paper which sets out how the industry can grow while maintaining the critical balance between people, planet and profit.
This fifth session of the Asia Summit will look at the elements of ‘Tourism for Tomorrow’, with a focus on human resource issues.
Growing capacity sustainably: This session will evaluate the critical infrastructure requirements to sustain future demand.
It will look at the most successful mechanisms to ensure investment and sustainable development of airports, air traffic control systems, cruise terminals, high speed rail, roads, hotels and shopping malls.
It will also explore the trade dimension and how such infrastructure developments can open up trade through increased connectivity.
Trending now and tomorrow: The pace of change across Asia is fast.
Companies and destinations need to keep up or they will lose out.
This final session will explore how technology is driving change, the reaction of the Asian consumer, and look at those specific technologies which will influence decision making, booking and how the product is consumed.
Asia tomorrow will look very different to Asia today, organisations, be they public or private sector, which plan successfully for that future will be the ones which stay ahead of tomorrow.
A final special session will welcomes experts from outside the industry, with global statesman Tony Blair set to take the stage.
He will give his observations on leadership and the current geopolitical climate.
After his speech, Blair will take part in an extended question-and-answer session with WTTC president David Scowsill, which will include questions relating to the Syria crisis and the Korea dispute.
For more on the World Travel & Tourism Council Asia Summit head over to the official website.