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Monday, October 14, 2019, 20:46
'Tourism builds a better future'
By Yang Han
Monday, October 14, 2019, 20:46 By Yang Han

This Oct 14, 2019 photo shows the panelists during a session on how tourism, leisure and sports lead to a beautiful life during the Global Tourism Economy Forum in Macao, Oct 14, 2019. (PHOTO / CHINA DAILY)

MACAO – As tourism continues to be a major economic contributor around the world, the industry not only helps create jobs but also helps build a better humanity, a leading global tourism platform has heard.

The tourism industry has become an important contributor to meet people’s demand for a better life in China, Zhang Xu, vice-minister of China’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism, said at the second day of the Global Tourism Economy Forum, in Macao on Monday.

In the face of global uncertainties, tourism helps promote connectivity in policy, infrastructure, trade, finance and people, said Zhang.

IN PICTURES: Global Tourism Economy Forum 2019 opens in Macao

Also speaking at the opening ceremony, Gustavo Santos, Argentina's Minister of Tourism, said, “Tourism gives tourists the chance to meet people who are different from them, learn from each other, and understand each other."

The future of tourism is about interacting with nature … so we need to protect the nature to have sustainable tourism. 

Dorji Dhradhul, Director General,  Tourism Council of Bhutan

Hosted by the government of the Macao Special Administrative Region in cooperation with the United Nations World Tourism Organization, the three-day forum is taking place under the theme Tourism and Leisure: Roadmap to A Beautiful Life.

Argentina and Brazil are partner countries of the event, while East China’s Jiangsu province is also featured.

Although the two South American countries are far from China in geographical terms, Santos said three countries are closely linked as they share the same dream and heart for joint development.

Echoing their views, Macao Chief Executive Fernando Chui Sai-on said that with the unique advantage provided by the principles of “one country, two systems”, Macao can help promote people-to-people exchanges. The international tourism city where East meets West can act as a hub to connect people along the routes of the Belt and Road Initiative, while also helping to enhance exchanges in areas like trade, commerce and culture.  

During a panel session held in cooperation with UNWTO, speakers from public, private and academic sectors shared their perspectives under the umbrella of How Tourism, Leisure and Sports Lead to a Beautiful Life.

Dorji Dhradhul, director general of the Tourism Council of Bhutan, said the country has been following the concept of “gross national happiness” for some 40 years to ensure any policy introduced by the government can please its citizens.

Thanks to the measurement, the country strives for high value and low volume to maintain the sustainability of the tourism sector.

“The future of tourism is about interacting with nature … so we need to protect the nature to have sustainable tourism,” said Dhradhul.

Governments must play a crucial role to facilitate the construction of infrastructure and make master plans to help locals benefit from the development of tourism, said Nguyen Thi Thanh Huong, vice-chairwoman of the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism, a government agency of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism Vietnam.

Maribel Rodriguez, vice-president of Europe and Latin America with the World Travel and Tourism Council, said governments must set goals for their tourism sectors and educate locals about how more visitors can help improve an individual’s living quality.

“Tourism is about shared prosperity,” said Tith Chantha, secretary of state with Cambodia’s Ministry of Tourism, noting how technology can help develop the industry in the sense of building mutual understanding.

Robin Ingle, CEO of Ingle-MSH International, an international insurance solution provider, said different industries should work together to develop the tourism industry as it is a major generator of new jobs.

About 10 percent of the world’s workforce is associated with tourism, according to the UNWTO.

Two signing ceremonies were held for the collaborative agreement between the Jiangsu Provincial Department of Culture and Tourism with the China Chamber of Tourism and Global Tourism Economy Research Centre, and a framework agreement on friendship park cooperation between Iguazu National Park in Argentina and Pu-er Sunriver Forest Park in China.

On Oct 15, China Daily will hold a special interview session during the GTEF on the topic of Greater Bay Area Tourism Development – An Integrated Approach for Well-Being. The session will bring together government officials, researchers and industry leaders from across the region, discussing how integrated development can create changes to the current regional tourism market.

Contact the writer at kelly@chinadailyapac.com

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