Officials promote new tourism wave

Updated: 2014-09-15 09:01

By Su Zhou and Zhang Zhao in Macao(China Daily)

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Officials promote new tourism wave
Chinese Vice-Premier Wang Yang delivers a keynote speech at the opening ceremony of the eighth APEC Tourism Ministerial Meeting in Macao on Saturday. Parker Zheng / China Daily

Declaration excerpts

The Macao Declaration, which passed at the eighth APEC Tourism Ministerial Meeting, includes the following:

Importance of work

"We, tourism ministers and representatives of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation member economies, hope that APEC leaders will fully recognize the significance of promoting Asia-Pacific tourism cooperation and development and consider the aforementioned aspiration in the Declaration of the APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting to be held in Beijing."

Integration of APEC tourism market

"We recommend that APEC member economies discuss the necessity and feasibility of enhancing tourism coordination mechanisms in the Asia-Pacific region, to guide and encourage member economies to further enhance cooperation in tourism products development, marketing and promotion, tourist services, international tourism investment, taxation policy for tourism growth, personnel education and training, job creation through tourism, etc."

The convergence of tourism and other industries

"We encourage the APEC Tourism Working Group to share the best practices of integrated development of tourism and various industries and to initiate a series of demonstration projects within APEC."

Smart tourism

"We encourage APEC member economies to boost innovation, explore and promote smart tourism and related cooperation and share business and other opportunities that come along with smart tourism."

Low-carbon tourism

"We encourage all member economies to take the APEC Growth Strategy 2010 for low-carbon development as a reference and, while implementing their respective tourism policies, consider cooperating on low-carbon tourism development in the Asia-Pacific region."

Connectivity among members

"We unanimously agree that strengthening tourism cooperation is an effective way to promote connectivity in the Asia-Pacific region. With respect to physical connectivity, growth of tourism can push forward infrastructure development, such as land, maritime and air transport, highways, railways, seaports, airports, water delivery, communications and Internet access."

Tourism ministers from APEC economies have adopted measures to ensure that the Asia-Pacific travel and leisure industry keeps pace with changing consumer trends and advances in technology.

New initiatives to support tourist travel and promote smart digital technologies in modern tourism management for sustainable, low-carbon tourism were outlined in the Macao Declaration, which was adopted on Sept 13 by the eighth Tourism Ministerial Meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation.

The meeting was hosted by the China National Tourism Administration and co-organized by the Macao Special Administrative Region.

Making it easier for tourists to travel throughout the region is a high priority. APEC members plan to work on improving visa processes and reducing wait times for tourists at airports to help boost tourism industry growth.

As the changing habits of tourists have introduced new requirements for the industry, APEC members will also work together to boost innovation and promote digital technologies, from smart hotels offering check-in on mobile devices to real-time collection of tourist data for tailoring personalized hotel or sightseeing services.

"Creating a next-generation tourism sector by seamlessly connecting tourists, integrating new digital technologies and offering sustainable tourism destinations is key to maintaining a competitive industry," said Alan Bollard, executive director of the APEC Secretariat.

Vice-Premier Wang Yang said APEC can meet its new target of 800 million tourists by 2025 by removing barriers and further integrating the Asia-Pacific tourism market.

"China will continue to promote the integration of the APEC tourism market by encouraging its citizens and companies to visit and invest in tourism infrastructure in the APEC region, and by supporting member economies' promotion of tourism to the Chinese mainland," Wang said in his opening remarks.

"China will contribute more to the integration by improving visa polices and transportation, such as launching more direct flights and encouraging more cities to adopt visa-on-arrival and visa exemption policies in the future," he said.

Wang Yanyong, director of the Tourism Development and Planning Research Center at Beijing Jiaotong University, said that to enhance APEC tourism market integration is to meet demand from tourists.

"Tourists tend to choose destinations based on culture clusters, such as China, Japan and South Korea. So cooperation is strongly needed to give them more choices," he said.

Dou Qun, a tourism industry professor at Beijing Union University, said that despite the potential of growth, the integration of the APEC tourism market now faces uncertainty, given the political tensions in some regions and public concerns raised about travel safety after the crash of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 in Ukraine.

"But we can start from smaller regional tourism cooperation, and we have seen many examples, such as the tourism cooperation between northeastern China and Russia," Dou said.

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