Macao, Macao SAR, September 12, 2020 / TRAVELINDEX / Vice-Chairman and Secretary-General of the Global Tourism Economy Forum (GTEF), Pansy Ho gave a keynote speech at the World Conference on Tourism Cooperation and Development (the Conference) on September 5 in Beijing. Hosted by the World Tourism Cities Federation, the Conference is held under the framework of the 2020 China International Fair for Trade in Services (CIFTIS). The Conference is held in collaboration with the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and co-organized with over 10 leading international tourism and trade entities such as: the Global Tourism Economy Forum (the Forum), the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA), the International Congress & Convention Association (ICCA), World Leisure Organization, the World Tourism Alliance (WTA), the International Mountain Tourism Alliance (IMTA), Internationale Tourismus-Börse Berlin (ITB Berlin), and the World Travel Market (WTM). Conducted in a hybrid onsite and online format, the Conference was broadcasted to 150 WTCF member cities and other 200 WTCF member organizations in 75 countries and regions. Other keynote speakers include: Wang Hong, Executive Vice-Chairman of the WTCF Council and Vice Mayor of Beijing, and Alexandre de Juniac, Director General & CEO of the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
Solidarity and Cooperation Brings Recovery to the Global Tourism Economy
The Conference was conducted under the theme “Rebuilding World Tourism for Prosperity” in efforts to provide recovery recommendations to those in the tourism sector that have been impacted by the pandemic. Through her virtual keynote, Global Tourism Economy Forum Vice-Chairman and Secretary-General Pansy Ho expressed, “Around the world, we see green shoots of recovery with the easing of travel restrictions and an increase in domestic travel. Only through solidarity and cooperation can the global tourism economy recover and harness its powerful multiplier effect.”
She also referenced the profound vision for collaboration stated by President Xi Jinping during his speech at the Virtual Opening of the 73rd World Health Assembly, “ ‘Mankind is a community with a shared future; solidarity and cooperation is our most powerful weapon for defeating the virus.’ It is in this spirit of a shared future that the international community can find the inspiration to come together and make tourism central to the restart of the global economy to promote prosperity, generate employment and foster new growth drivers.”
Furthermore, she expressed, “During the pandemic, closed borders, lockdowns, and a decline in consumer confidence have so far resulted in a global decline of 300 million tourists and USD $320 billion lost in international tourism receipts. This impact is already more than three times the loss suffered during the Global Economic Crisis of 2009. But there are opportunities in all crises and today is an opportunity to rethink the future of tourism and to reinvest in its potential.”
Advances in Technology Redefines Travel
She believes leveraging technology and innovation will help the tourism sector overcome its current challenges. She points out, “Tools such as facial recognition, digital wallets, biometric surveillance have made travel more of a seamless experience, particularly in transportation and accommodation. At the same time, robotic technology has advanced touchless systems and led to improved hygiene, ensuring safety and boosting traveler confidence. Technology has also helped art, culture, and creativity to continue to thrive. Cultural sites and museums have opened their virtual doors, connecting audiences via livestream to the Palace of Versailles in France, the Palace Museum in Beijing, and the Mogao Grottoes in Dunhuang City, among many others. Virtual technology has allowed us to continue life’s adventures from our homes as we look forward to traveling again.”
Macao Shows Resilience through the Adoption of Innovative Solutions and Cooperative Efforts
Pansy Ho used Macao as a case study to showcase successful measures adopted in combating the virus and its implications. In particular, Macao has shown its resilience and put in place innovative solutions and cooperative efforts to revitalize travel and tourism. Several initiatives to support residents, welcome back visitors, and recreate prosperity stand out. She stated, “As a City of Gastronomy and part of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network, Macao has provided support to creative industries and launched financial aid measures to support professionals. This includes free online learning videos to enhance human capital in the gastronomic sector, a ‘Welfare to Work’ program to create favorable working conditions for artists, and an ‘online handicraft teaching’ with videos to promote Macao’s handicrafts and products. Lastly, to further support SMEs, the government designed Macao Ready Go! an e-platform to gather special offers on retail, leisure, and entertainment.” She believes, “Recognizing and making the most of this pivotal moment to revitalize and re-engineer the future of tourism, Macao continues to merit its position as the World Center of Tourism and Leisure and to play its part in the integration of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area.”
About Global Tourism Economy Forum
The Global Tourism Economy Forum (GTEF) is hosted by the Macao SAR Government, in collaboration with the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), co-organized by the China Chamber of Tourism (TCC) under the authorization of All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce (ACFIC) and the Macao Government Tourism Office (MGTO), and coordinated by the Global Tourism Economy Research Centre (GTERC). GTEF’s supporting units include the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of the People’s Republic of China, All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce (ACFIC), the Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government in the Macao SAR, Office of the Commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China in the Macao SAR, World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA), World Tourism Cities Federation (WTCF), European Travel Commission (ETC), and the Macau Chinese Enterprise Association (MCEA).
Since its inception in 2012, GTEF has successfully established itself as an influential high-level cooperation platform to promote sustainable development in the global tourism industry with a focus on China. To date, GTEF had received more than 12,700 participants from 90 countries and regions, including delegations from 152 provinces and cities of Mainland China; and 600 internationally renowned speakers who are leaders in public, private, and academic fields. GTEF has continuously received consistent and wide amount of coverage from international press and media, valued up to USD $62 million.