• Interview – UNWTO: Why the World is Looking to the East ?

    Ramesh Tiwari
    July 4, 2015
    Interview – UNWTO: Why the World is Looking to the East ?

    Leisure and MICE travel are more than economic drivers for Asia Pacific. They represent an opportunity for this region to emerge as a global leader in policy and innovation. Mr. Xu Jing, regional director for Asia and the Pacific at the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) reveals his biggest concerns and greatest hopes.

    The MICE industry is being positioned as a major driver of tourism in Asian and Pacific nations. What are some best practices we can look to as guidelines? Where do you see room for improvement?

    Asia and the Pacific destinations can further leverage the meetings industry as this is a growing segment due to Asia’s economic boom and increased trade and business relations among Asian countries. The meetings industry brings in not only higher spending but also opportunities in exchanging know-how.It is noteworthy that Asian DMOs and DMCs are generally well-geared to tap meetings industry demand and may even be an example to the rest of the world in this field. UNWTO’s research on visa facilitation shows that Asia is taking the lead — a factor that will certainly facilitate the further expansion of meetings industry in the region.

    With regard to the ASEAN Economic Community, what do you hope will be achieved by the end of 2015? What goals do you think will require more time to develop?

    I hope that the ASEAN will continue to work closely together in introducing an ASEAN Common Visa, an initiative that was decided upon by the ASEAN Tourism Ministers at the 2011 ASEAN Summit in Jakarta, Indonesia. Achieving this envisioned multi-destination visa will improve social integration and regional cooperation as well as nurture tourism demand, resulting in increased investments, regional growth and job creation.

    The recent devastation in Nepal sheds light on the important topic of duty of care. What can Asia Pacific governments take away from this tragic event to help ensure that visitors are protected as much as possible?

    Governments must ensure that the protection of tourists is an integral part of any national emergency plan. UNWTO supports tourism crisis-management efforts at national level, focusing on both the establishment of effective crisis management systems (CMS) and improvement of existing CMS and we always highlight the high importance of integrating travel and tourism into national emergency structures and procedures.

    When considering developing nations and community development, do you anticipate tourism as the solution toward economic self-reliance? Or is tourism meant to be a stepping stone toward diverse industries?

    Tourism usually operates in tandem with other sectors, such as agriculture, transportation and creative industries to name a few. Tourism may not be the end-all solution but the cog in the wheel with spokes spreading to a multitude of interrelated sectors.With regards to community development, this is indeed a priority of UNWTO that goes hand in hand with sustainability as tourism’s many benefits – income generation, education and increased capacity- should trickle down to all members of the local community.

    As the UNWTO Regional Support Office for Asia and the Pacific is based in Osaka, what are some economic lessons we can take from Japan in terms of cultural heritage tourism?

    Japan is blessed with natural and cultural heritage, with as many as 18 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. As these heritage sites are natural tourism draws, preserving their outstanding values should be a priority, and in this regard Japan has in place an excellent initiative tied in with UNESCO wherein finance projects are aimed at preserving and restoring its monuments, sites and archaeological remains inscribed on the World Heritage List.

    Can you share some of your greatest concerns about the rapid growth of travel and tourism within the Asia Pacific?

    Our primary concern is sustainability. Economic success cannot come at the cost of social or environmental degradation and we are happy to see that destinations in the region are increasingly aware of this challenge. As an example China is hosting six Sustainable Tourism Observatories under the auspices of UNWTO and we trust these will expand to other Asian countries in the future.  – Pataconversations.com , July 2015




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      What they say

      Tourism is a people’s sector. One in 10 people in the world are directly or indirectly employed by tourism. Ours is the responsibility to ensure that tourism benefits each and every community, leaving no one behind.
      Tourism’s sustained growth brings immense opportunities for economic welfare and development. Yet, it also brings in many challenges. Adapting our sector to the challenges of safety and security, to constant market changes, to digitalization and the limits of our natural resources should be priorities in our common action.
      As we move towards a future guided by the universal 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), I take upon me to lead UNWTO with a strong focus on building partnerships with public and private sector, fostering jobs and opportunities for all, mastering technology and innovation and advancing sustainability and the fight against climate change.
      I trust that, together with our Member States and our partners from around the world, we can build a more competitive and responsible tourism sector for the benefit of all. I wish you a very happy 2018.
      Zurab Pololikashvili
      UNWTO Secretary-General

      Beautiful China – Year of Integrated Tourism 2018

      China has declared the year 2018 as “Beautiful China-Year of Integrated Tourism”. The slogans are “New Era, New Tourism, New Achievements”; “Region-based Tourism, Brand New Pursuit” according to CNTA.

      Travel Fairs ( Jan.- April 2018 )

       *Vakantiebeurs  -Tourism and Recreation Fair
      Utrecht, Netherlands, January 10-14 ,2018

      *Ferien-Messe Wien Int’l Tourism Fair Vienna Vienna, Austria, Jan 11-14

      * CMT / CMT – Die Urlaubsmesse Holiday, Caravanning, Motoring and Tourism , Stuttgart, Germany Jan. 13-21

      *FITUR – Int’l Tourism Trade Fair , Madrid, Spain Jan. 17-21

      *GO Int’l Travel Trade Fair                                          Brno, Czech Republic, Jan. 18-21

      *OTM Outbound Travel Mart ,Mumbai, India, Jan. 18-20

      *Adventure Travel Show , London  20-21 January

      *ASEAN Tourism Forum ( ATF) , Chiang Mai , Thailnd January 22-26

      *EMITT-  East Mediterranean Int’l Tourism and Travel Exhibition ,Istanbul, Turkey, Jan. 25-28

      *SATTE Travel Mart , New Delhi , India            Jan. 31- Feb. 2

      *IMTM – Int’l Mediterranean Tourism Market   Tel Aviv, Israel  , Feb. 6-7

      *India Travel Mart ITM , Ahmedabad, India          Feb. 9-11

      *Travel and Tourism Fair ( TTF) , Chennai , India Feb. 16-18

      *PATA ATRT Conference and Mart , Abu Dhabi , UAE , Feb 21-23

      *Travel and Tourism Fair(TTF) , Bengaluru, India ,Feb. 23-25

      *World Spa and Wellness 2018 , London , UK Feb. 25-26

      *Guangzhou International Travel Fair Guangzhou , China  March 1-3

      *ITB Berlin Berlin , Germany March 7-11

      *Moscow Int. Tourism and Travel Exhibition ( MITT) ,Moscow , Russia March 13-15

      *IT& CM China 2018 , Shanghai , China          March 20 – 22

      *GBTA Conference Mexico City, March 21-23

      *UNWTO World Conference on Snow and Mt. Tourism ,Andorra , March 21-23

      *Arabian Travel Mart –ATM   Dubai , 22-25 April

      Wildlife in Chitawan , Nepal

      Window of Nepal Tourism