Macao Chief Executive Ho Iat Seng (center) and Vice-Chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference Ho Hau-wah attend the opening ceremony of the Global Tourism Economy Forum 2023 at the Galaxy International Convention Center in Macao, Sept 21, 2023 (EDMOND TANG / CHINA DAILY)
HONG KONG – Tourism and its related industries have become important factors for economic recovery in the post-pandemic world, experts said at a tourism forum in Macao on Thursday.
Themed “Destination 2030: Unlocking the Power of Tourism for Business and Development”, the three-day Global Tourism Economy Forum (GTEF) has served as a top-tier platform for promoting exchanges and cooperation in the industry.
Vice-Chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, Ho Hau-wah, who is also the forum’s chairman, addressed the opening ceremony.
According to Secretary-General of World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Zurab Pololikashvili, the forum is set to be the premier platform for cooperation between public and the private sectors.
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“Today, we shape the course of the sectors’ future around the pillars of jobs, education, innovation and investments,” he said.
After COVID-19 broke out, inclusive relief policies and targeted assistance measures were launched by the government to help the industry.
Hu Heping, Minister Of Culture and Tourism, China
Hu Heping, minister of culture and tourism of the People's Republic of China and the forum’s honorary chairman, said that tourism is an effective means to develop the economy and increase employment, and is an important channel for exchanges between different countries and cultures.
Stressing that the Chinese government attaches great importance to the development of tourism he said: “After COVID-19 broke out, inclusive relief policies and targeted assistance measures were launched by the government to help the industry.”
The GTEF is co-organized by the Macao Government Tourism Office and the China Chamber of Tourism, and coordinated by the Global Tourism Economy Research Centre (GTERC).
Hosted by the Secretariat of Economy and Finance of the government of Macao Special Administrative Region in collaboration with UNWTO, the forum is a leading international exchange platform designed to promote the sustainable development of global tourism.
Secretary for Economy and Finance of the Macao Special Administrative Region Lei Wai-nong, who is also the executive chairman of the forum, said Macao has become one of the core platforms for its prime assets such as tourism under the advantages of “one country, two systems”.
New strategic work has been put into building the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, he added.
“Every year, the Macao SAR government collaborates with GTERC to come up with a forward-thinking theme for the forum in line with the latest situation and to produce an innovative format and program.”
“After a decade of hard work, the Macao SAR government has developed GTEF into a major event for the international tourism industry and a signature brand of Macao,” he said.
Ho Hau-wah, vice-chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference and chairman of Global Tourism Economy Forum; and World Tourism Organization Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili join other officials in celebrating the 10th anniversary of the forum in Macao, Sept 21, 2023. (EDMOND TANG / CHINA DAILY)
Minister of Tourism of Italy Daniela Santanchè said Italy and China are continuing to work together, not in just in terms of tourism, but also culture and other areas. Italy is this year’s guest country at GTEF.
“Our two peoples are also closer to each other than ever,” she said. “Italy is one of the favorite tourist destinations for Chinese tourists. After three years absence, Chinese tourists are coming back.”
Vice Chairman of All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce Qiu Xiaoping said this year is the 10th anniversary of the GTEF, a time of rapid recovery and also an important year following the pandemic.
Tourism still has many challenges, he said, “but we can see the industry has a unique advantage and also it can help mold employment and enrich people’s spiritual … It actually has become a very important driving force after the pandemic.”
Vice-Mayor Liu Duo said Shanghai, which is the featured city of this year’s GTEF, is also on the path to unlock the potential of tourism for business and development and to promote the prosperity of tourism around the globe.
“Shanghai has been tapping into its rich resources to develop its culture and tourism events,” she said.
“We want to build channels through which we could talk to other countries and to empower the development of our economy.”
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