First Global Tourism Economy Forum Hailed a Resounding Success; Sets Roadmap to Bolstered Growth For Tourism & Economy

Featured the strongest line-up of global tourism leaders ever; more than 1,000 delegates attend. UNWTO Predicts International Travel will hit 1 Billion by December 2012

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Secretary General, Taleb Rifai of United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO)

We need to ensure that the tourism sector is supported by adequate national policies and that we work to reduce existing barriers to the expansion of the
sector, such as complicated visa procedures, increased direct taxation or limited connectivity.

Macau (PRWEB) September 13, 2012

The successful launch of The Global Tourism Economy Forum in Macao this week - the first-ever mega tourism forum held in China - achieved success in connecting the Chinese tourism industry with the rest of the world, and it is expected to become a long-term program in the future.

Featuring the strongest line-up of global tourism leaders ever, the Forum attracted over 1,000 delegates from more than 20 countries and cities from all over the world. Over the course of the three day event, more than 50 speakers, including government ministers, scholars and business leaders, held lively discussions covering: Mega Events & Festivals, Emerging New Markets, Media & Technology, Destination Planning and Lifestyle & Entertainment.

Ablet Abdurishit, Vice Chairman of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference stated, “The Global Tourism Economy Forum created a high and international exchange platform for industry experts and leaders to meet and share experiences, discussion topics and future vision and development. I believe this will certainly create new opportunities, which will bring great cooperation for tourism and other related industries.”

The goal of the Forum, “Growth Driving Growth” focused on the interdependency of tourism growth and economic growth. The common themes debated during the event included how to balance responsible growth, sustainability and the challenges of visa restrictions, technology and emerging markets’ ability to handle tourism demand with facilities and services required by a savvy and demanding consumer.

In opening the Global Tourism Economy Forum in Macao, Secretary General, Taleb Rifai of United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), said “We need to ensure that the tourism sector is supported by adequate national policies and that we work to reduce existing barriers to the expansion of the sector, such as complicated visa procedures, increased direct taxation or limited connectivity.” Rifai elaborated on three challenges to be faced by the industry namely convenience in travel, tax income and a higher degree of collaboration across industries.

As witnessed by the elite leaders from government and tourism industry, a Memorandum of Cooperation was signed between World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and Global Tourism Economic Research Centre, the Forum’s coordinating unit.    The Memorandum serves as a dedication and commitment to make advanced and better use of the Forum’s discussions to the actual tourism economy.    Through collaborations and research, solutions and advanced thinking will be provided for guiding the sustainable development and economic diversification of the tourism industry, subsequently leading to more employment opportunities.
Highlights from the Forum included:

  •     In 2011, international tourist arrivals reached 990 million. With an expected growth of 3%
        to 4% in 2012, this figure is forecast to reach one billion for the first time by December
        2012.
  •     For on-line travel retailer Ctrip, the opportunity for outbound and inbound Asian travel is
        staggeringly large. Some 70 million Chinese will travel internationally this year, said Fan
        Min, executive director and CEO, and the UNWTO expects that 100 million Chinese will
        take an international trip by 2020.
  •     Pansy Ho, secretary general of GTEF states that over the next decade Chinese will
        become the single largest group of tourists in the world.
  •     Ho also stated that In 1980, emerging economies accounted for about 30 percent of the    
        tourism industry. By 2011, their share had grown to 47 percent.
  •     Zhou Li, publisher and editor of China Daily Asia Pacific, said, “The advent of the Internet
        and mobile technology has literally given a big shot in the arm to an industry that
        contributes $6 trillion to the global economy, 9 percent of global GDP and created 260
        million jobs worldwide.
  •     Google’s John Liu, head of Greater China at Google noted that 85 percent of travelers do
        research online and they make an average of 55 online searches before booking a trip.
        Half of these travelers base their ultimate decision on the advice of people they know and
        trust.
  •     Brendan Jacobson, Global Head of Sales at Google-owned Zagat Survey, confirmed that
        Zagat planned to post user-generated reviews of every tourist destination in the world via
        Google.

Huang Mengfu, Vice Chairman of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference and Chair of All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce (ACFIC) mentioned: “In the aftermath of the international financial crisis and the global economy confronted with many challenges, the economies of many nations underwent a quiet restructuring if not transformation. With the industrial structures quickly upgrading, various new industries, notably the tourism industry, are developing at breakneck paces.

At the closing ceremony, Pansy Ho, Secretary-General of Global Tourism Economy Forum, remarked:    “I am very glad that the Forum succinctly covered many of the key challenges ahead.    Our distinguished speakers and moderators certainly gave us plenty of food for thought on designing and formulating our next generation of tourism trends.    By embracing different perspectives and new ideas, the industry and related stakeholders can formulate clear approaches for development, in turn promoting the sustainable development of the global tourism industry and boosting the global economy at large.”

Please visit http://www.GTE-Forum.com for more details about the Global Tourism Economy Forum.

Press releases and photos of today’s forum could be downloaded by entering the “News and Media” section of the Forum’s official website:

http://www.gte-forum.com/en/pressreleases.aspx (English press releases)


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