APEC cooperation necessary for sustainable tourism development

A view of Lan Ha Bay in Cat Ba town of Hai Phong city (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – Experts have
suggested Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) members should soon
establish a new cooperation mechanism to develop tourism sustainably.

In 2015, the APEC region welcomed 396
million tourists, 33 percent of global holiday-makers. The sector brings in
more than 598 billion USD, making up 44.5 percent of global turnover.

In the Macao Declaration issued in
2014, APEC tourism ministers set a target of attracting 800 million
international visitors by 2025. If the target is reached, it will add 3.8
trillion USD to the region’s gross domestic product (GDP), create an additional
21.1 million jobs and help 15.2 million people escape from poverty.

To fulfill the objective, APEC
members sought to chart development plans for a tourism-based economy at the
ninth APEC Tourism Ministerial Meeting in Lima, Peru, in May 2016.

They plan to focus on enhancing
connectivity between domestic and international airlines, implementing measures
designed specifically to facilitate tourism and organising training programmes to
improve capacity of tourism workers, businesspeople and small-scale travel
firms.

During the 49th meeting of
the APEC Tourism Working Group (TWG) in Papua New Guinea in 2016, APEC
officials and their partners discussed regional cooperation in tourism.

Rapid tourism development is forecasted
to negatively impact the environment and climate. Therefore, sustainable tourism
is an important goal for the world and the APEC economies in particular.

In 2014, the TWG announced a report on
sustainable tourism and instructions on building sustainable tourism sites.

Representatives
from 21 APEC economies adopted a statement on sustainable tourism development
during the APEC High Level Policy Dialogue on Sustainable Tourism held in
Vietnam’s northeastern province of Quang Ninh on June 19 this year.

The
statement delivers a message of supporting principles and actions to promote
sustainable tourism, with sustainable tourism regarded as a continuous process
that requires constant impact monitoring.

The
document also underlines the need to foster regional and domestic tourism
policies that support the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and encourage
viable, long-term economic contributions from travel and tourism in providing benefits
for all stakeholders.

It
mentions the respect for socio-cultural authenticity of host communities and encouraging
consumer-led demand for sustainable tourism practices and products, promoting
public-private partnership to develop sustainable tourism infrastructure and
services, creating competitive and enabling environments for all
tourism-related enterprises and conducting studies to enable APEC economies to
adapt to, and capitalise on, changes made by new technology.

Vietnamese
Deputy Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Huynh Vinh Ai told reporters
following the dialogue that representatives of the APEC economies agreed that
sustainable tourism serves as a driving force for regional economic integration
as well as comprehensive and sustainable economic growth.

Apart
from the environment and climate, sustainable tourism should be related to the
material and spiritual life of communities, as well as local traditional
cultural values, ecological systems and natural heritage, he said.

He
added that the APEC members committed to put forth effective policies to spur
sustainable tourism development based on the situation in each country, with
attention paid to community-based tourism.

Experts,
however, suggested promptly building a mechanism to boost links between the
APEC members to cope with challenges facing by the tourism sector, including
climate change and sustainable development.-VNA



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