Business / Economy

APEC event to boost exchanges and cooperation

By Zhang Zhao (China Daily) Updated: 2014-09-12 07:40

APEC event to boost exchanges and cooperation

The 45th APEC Tourism Working Group Meeting is held on Sept 10-11 in Macao. Photos by Parker Zheng / China Daily

Vice-Chairman of China National Tourism Administration Du Jiang talks with China Daily reporter Zhang Zhao on the significance of the APEC Tourism Ministerial Meeting in China and the major events and topics this year.

APEC event to boost exchanges and cooperation

Could you comment on the importance of the APEC Tourism Ministerial Meeting to China and particularly Macao as its host?

This year marks the 25th anniversary of APEC. Under its framework, the APEC Tourism Ministerial Meeting has been held every other year since 2000.

The event is held by the host country ahead of the government leaders' non-official meetings. It aims to enhance tourism exchanges and cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region and promote its development.

It is the first time for China to host the Tourism Ministerial Meeting. It will help increase the influence of China's tourism in the world, enhance cooperation between China and other Asia-Pacific economies in the industry, promote tourism in the region and let tourism better serve regional socioeconomic development.

In addition, the meeting will also help Macao build a "world center of tourism and leisure".

Why was "exploring new future of Asia-Pacific tourism cooperation and development" chosen as the theme of the meeting?

Firstly, the theme echoes the overall design of the APEC China 2014 meeting.

Secondly, with this theme we will continue to highlight the key areas in the APEC tourism cooperation program and its priority fields, such as the APEC Tourism Strategic Plan and APEC Tourism Facilitation Action Plan. These include tourism-driven economic growth, tourist safety and collaboration among the tourism working groups and other APEC organizations.

Thirdly, this theme meets the needs of China's tourism development. The Asia-Pacific region is an important market of tourism service and trade for China. We will use the meeting to highlight the importance of tourism cooperation in APEC, promote the integration of the tourism market in the region and foster a better environment to increase the competence of Chinese tourism.

What topics does the meeting include? Why are these topics so important?

There are five topics: promoting the integration of the tourism market in the Asia-Pacific region, shifting the development model of tourism by integrating it with other industries, smart tourism with modern technology, APEC tourism connectivity and low-carbon tourism.

There will be a Macao Declaration of the eighth APEC Tourism Ministerial Meeting based on discussions on the five topics.

The first topic echoes one of the core focuses of the APEC China 2014 meeting, which is about the economic integration of the Asia-Pacific region.

The region is the largest tourism market in the world. Members in the region are all active in developing tourism. Most of them, especially many emerging economies, have maintained optimistic economic growth, which provides sound foundations to develop tourism.

Also, the diversity of history, society and culture of the members in the region has led to distinctive tourism brands and travel routes. Professionalism has also been recognized by the increasing number of global tourists.

The second topic corresponds to the ideas of APEC's new economic strategy.

Members in the Asia-Pacific region are recovering from the economic crisis and seeking new economic drivers. Tourism can be well integrated with agriculture and industry. The integration will lead to sustainable development of tourism, with regional governments making good use of their geographical advantages and resources.

It will also make tourism a leader of national economy.

The third topic is about innovation and the latest trends in tourism.

The application of modern technology has become a key element of modern tourism, and led to the concept of "smart tourism". This covers service, management and marketing. Smart tourism will greatly change business models in the region's tourism market. It will be a new feature of APEC tourism cooperation.

In addition, smart tourism under the APEC framework also agrees with China's future tourism plans.

The fourth topic echoes another of the core areas of the APEC China 2014 meeting, which focuses on cooperation in infrastructure.

Connectivity in tourism means not only the physical connection of infrastructure and transport, but also coordination of rules and systems along with exchanges of people and culture.

The fifth topic echoes the third topic of the APEC China 2014 meeting, which is about new sources of economic development and innovative growth models. It also agrees with China's long term plans for tourism.

Tourism is typical green economy. It is a pilot to transform traditional development models and drive national economy. Low-carbon, sustainable development is the only choice for all industries of China including tourism.

Low-carbon tourism will help promote the image of "Beautiful China".

What other programs and activities are planned apart from the five major topics?

Before the plenary session of the APEC Tourism Ministerial Meeting we held a tourism workshop and the 45th APEC Tourism Working Group Meeting.

At the tourism workshop on Sept 9, delegates exchanged views and experiences on industrial integration, smart tourism and tourist-friendly airports.

At the 45th APEC Tourism Working Group Meeting on Sept 10 and 11, the Chinese side discussed their concerns about the ministerial meeting with other delegates.

Macao Night on Sept 12 is a welcome dinner and a promotion campaign for the ministerial meeting.

A press conference will be held on the afternoon of Sept 13, at which meeting achievements will be announced.

In addition, we arranged a number of visits for the delegates to see the achievements of Macao in building a "world center of tourism and leisure" and the latest efforts of Zhuhai in smart tourism.

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