• 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




    • Connecting you with the world of travel and tourism

      News Brief

      Kabul: Afghan security forces have regained control of Intercontinental Hotel, hours after the gunmen burst into the hotel shooting at guests and staff. At least five civilians were killed and six were injured in the siege. Three of the attackers have been killed and more than 150 guests were rescued. No group has said it carried out the attack, but the Taliban targeted the Intercontinental hotel in 2011.

      Beijing: China’s economy grew by 6.9% in 2017 according to official data – the first time in seven years the pace of growth has picked up. The figure beats Beijing’s official annual expansion target of about 6.5%. Gross domestic product (GDP) totaled 82.71 trillion yuan (about 12.84 trillion U.S. dollars) in 2017, with the service sector accounting for more than half of the total.

      Shanghai: China Eastern Airlines and other domestic airlines have begun to allow mobile phone use on their aircraft or announced plans to lift a ban. China Eastern Airlines and Hainan Airlines began to allow passengers to use portable electronic devices (PED), such as smartphones and tablets.China Southern Airlines and Xiamen Airlines announced they would allow mobile phone use on all their flights this week. – Agencies

      2017 in review -Top stories

      January 1 : New year nightclub attack leaves 39 dead in Istanbul
      January 20 : Republican billionaire Donald Trump sworn in as 45th US president
      January 23 : Syria peace talks begin in Kazakh capital Astana
      March 29 :United Kingdom officially launches the Brexit process
      April 4 :Syria launches chemical attack killing 90 people
      April 6 : US cruise missiles destroy Syrian air base
      April 9 : Bombings at two churches in Egypt kill dozens
      April 16 : Refugee death toll passes 1,000 in Mediterranean
      April 16 :Turkey says YES to presidential system
      May 6 :Emmanuel Macron elected French president defeating Marine Le Pen
      May 19 :Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani wins re-election
      May 22 : Terrorist attack kills 22 at Manchester concert
      June 5 : Gulf nations severe ties with Qatar
      June 7 :Suicide bombers attack Iranian parliament killing 13 people
      June 14 :London fire kills 71 in the 24-storey Grenfell Tower
      July 4 :North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s missile ambitions
      July 28 : Pakistan’s top court disqualifies Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif from office
      August 5 :US withdraws from Paris climate change pact
      August 17 :Storms cause record damage in Caribbean and southern United States
      August 25 :Muslim Rohingya start fleeing Rakhine state in Myanmar
      September 15 : NASA’s 13-year Saturn mission ends
      September 20 : Earthquake kills more than 200 in Mexico
      September 24 : Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel wins fourth term
      September 26 : Saudi Arabia lifts ban on women driving
      October 1 : Gunman opens fire on Las Vegas music festival killing 59 people
      October 14 : Massive bombing in Somalia’s capital Modadishu kill more than 500 people
      October 24 : China confirms the elevation of President Xi Jinping to the same status as the nation’s founder, Mao Zedong, and Deng Xiaoping, by enshrining ‘Xi Jinping thought’ in the party’s constitution at the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China
      October 27 : Catalonia declares independence from Spain
      November 4 : S audi Arabia detains 11 princes, four ministers and ten former ministers in a corruption probe
      November 12 : Iran-Iraq magnitude 7.3 earthquake kills more than 500
      November 15 : Argentine navy submarine disappears with 44 crew on board
      November 21 : Robert Mugabe resigns as Zimbabwe’s president after 37 years in power. His former deputy Emmerson Mnangagwa will become president.
      November 22 : Bosnian Serb army commander Ratko Mladic convicted of genocide in Srebrenica during the 1990s Bosnian War
      November 24 : Gunmen kill hundreds at Sinai mosque in Egypt
      December 4 : Houthi militants assassinate Yemen’s former President Ali Abdullah Saleh
      December 5 : Russia banned from 2018 Winter Olympics for state-sponsored doping
      December 6 : US President Donald Trump recognises Jerusalem as the capital of Israel
      December 17 : Price of one bitcoin reaches a new high of $19,783.06 dollars
      December 21 : Yemen’s cholera outbreak
      December 22 : Syria peace talks in Astana (compiled)

      Top ten most visited cities

      Between January and August 2017, destinations worldwide welcomed 901 million international tourist arrivals (overnight visitors), 56 million more than in the same period of 2016 .The top ten most visited cities are:
      HONG KONG26.6 million
      BANGKOK 21.2 million
      LONDON19.2 million
      SINGAPORE16.6 million
      MACAU15.4 million
      DUBAI14.9 million
      PARIS14.4 million
      NEW YORK12.7 million
      SHENZHEN12.6 million
      KUALA LUMPUR12.3 million

      Source: Euromonitor International

      Wildlife in Chitawan , Nepal

      Window of Nepal Tourism