Instead of the traditional seminar, UNWTO’s annual meeting of Asia-Pacific members takes a fresh approach this yearThis will involve a series of innovative events, including: a roundtable debate among 25 tourism ministers; the presentation of the new Asia-Pacific Megatrends study; the release of comprehensive new research on the travel habits of seven emerging Asian markets, and a luncheon with world-renowned actor Jackie Chan - naming him as UNWTO’s first ever Tourism Ambassador.
The events, to take place in Macao on 13-14 June, will play a significant role in setting the course for the region’s tourism future. Asia-Pacific is the acknowledged motor behind global tourism growth. An estimated 156 million international visitors chose a destination in Asia in 2005, up more than 7% over the previous year despite the devastating Indian Ocean tsunami. One in every five international tourists visits the Asia-Pacific region each year, so policies set here have significance that reaches around the world.
“We want the new format of our annual meeting to reflect the optimism and dynamism of the world’s foremost tourism region,” said UNWTO Regional Representative for Asia and the Pacific Xu Jing, who is organizing the events in cooperation with the Macao Government Tourist Office.
“Our objectives are to identify the best strategies to meet the projected growth in demand so that tourism continues to produce economic benefits for the region and, secondly, to look for ways of effectively managing tourism so that its growth does not compromise the principles of sustainability,” he added.
The three-hour Ministerial Roundtable on 13 June will be hosted by respected journalist Nik Gowing, the main presenter on BBC World television. All 25 ministers from UNWTO’s East Asia-Pacific and South Asia regions will face off for the discussions around a large table in the majestic council chambers of Macao’s historic Leal Senado Building. Topics will include: the impact of low cost carriers; the best ways to capture the emerging generating markets of China and India; crisis management; image building and using tourism to fight poverty, among many others. The session will be open to all delegates, as well as media representatives.
The roundtable will also see the launch of an important new project: Asia-Pacific Tourism Megatrends. Developed by UNWTO in cooperation with the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, this annual study is a tool that will offer the best and most up-to-date information possible on the rapidly changing trends that are shaping regional tourism.
The meeting of the East Asia-Pacific and South Asia Commissions, on 14 June, will feature the presentation of UNWTO’s seven market studies on the Asia-Pacific region’s major source markets - Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Republic of Korea and Thailand - which will emphasize the importance of intra-regional tourism as the mainstay of Asian tourism.
In addition, Macao will host a luncheon on 13 June during which leading Asian film star Jackie Chan will be named as the first Asia-Pacific Tourism Ambassador for his active role in tourism and his contribution to poverty alleviation initiatives.