Macau, China: As tourism industry is considered as a driving force of the economic growth, World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) forecasts, by 2030, international tourists will increase up to 1.8 billion in the Asia-Pacific region alone. This leads to full realization of industrial diversification among regional economies and advancement toward the goal of long-term sustainable development.
Mr. Taleb Rifai, secretary-general of UNWTO, said in the two day Global Tourism Economic Forum hosted in Macua that “the number of international tourists continued to increase worldwide annually, and this trend not only assisted in job creation, but also grew much faster than many other sectors.”
By 2012, tourism industry to global economy contributed US$6.6 trillion or 9% of global economic growth, which accounted for 260 million jobs or 1 in 11 jobs around the world.
He pointed out in the Forum, which has invited tourism industry elites to come together for exploring how tourism can help regenerate growth in the world economies, that “as there are numerous new opportunities for tourism in Asia and the rest of the world, we believe that by joining forces, the potential available to tourism could be tapped everywhere.”
According to recent statistics published by UNWTO, the first half of 2013 saw a 5 percent increase in the number of international visitors, or nearly half-a-billion visitors. In 2012, international tourist arrivals reached 1,035 million.
As an industry many countries strive to develop, some ministerial officials from different countries have raised their own policies to support the growth as well as the challenges and opportunities they faced to make the UNWTO forecasts a reality.
Speaking on the panelist session of the Global Tourism Economic Forum, Vietnamese Deputy Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Ho Anh Tuan affirmed Vietnam always attaches importance to promoting this “non-smoking” industry.
He noted that the country’s tourism potential and pledged to create favorable conditions for foreign tour operators to expand their business in Vietnam.
Mr. Thong Khon, Minister of Cambodia Tourism also said that Cambodia is still lack of human resources, especially the training center in tourism and hospitality to fill the demand of tourism development in Cambodia.
Recently, the Asian mainland countries, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar and Thailand are discussing the application of a single visa mechanism for the five involved countries to promote cross-border travel.
Likewise, China have set Tourism Industry in the it’s 12th Five-Year Plan that clearly stated that tourism had been identified as an area that had to be given priority for development , especially the support of the small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and those of the private sector.
Du Jiang, vice-chairman of China National Tourism Administration, said the central government was presently promoting tourism as a pillar economy.
He said that by 2020, more than 180 million visitors will come to China and 150 million Chinese visitors will go traveling overseas.
To prepare for potential global economic changes, Mr. Ho Hau Wah, Vice Chairman of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, has mentioned in the opening ceremony forum that many countries around the world are proactively developing tourism as their key industry and as a strategic plan for the sustainable development of their nations and regions.