The opening ceremony of the 8th APEC Tourism Ministerial Meeting (TMM8) is held in Macao, south China, Sept 13, 2014. [Photo/Xinhua]
The 8th APEC Tourism Ministerial Meeting (TMM8) kicked off on Sept 13 in Macao, a Chinese special administrative region which is known as the “Las Vegas of the Far East”.
Vice-Premier Wang Yang highlighted tourism as a pillar of economic growth in his keynote speech.
“Against the backdrop of fragile global economic recovery, the Asia-Pacific region should develop tourism as an engine for growth and development as well as job creation,” Wang said.
With output growing at an annual average rate of six percent, tourism has become one of the fastest developing economic sectors in the region, generating 8.5 percent of the region’s GDP and accounting for 8.8 percent of gross job creation, he said.
Wang called on APEC member economies to accelerate tourism facilitation, infrastructure connectivity and information exchange, in a bid to meet the goal of raising the number of APEC international tourists to over 800 million by 2025.
Mari Pangestu, Indonesian minister of tourism and creative economy, addresses the opening ceremony of the 8th APEC Tourism Ministerial Meeting (TMM8) in Macao, south China, Sept 13, 2014.[Photo/Xinhua]
His words were echoed by Mari Pangestu, minister of Indonesian Tourism and Creative Economy, who said tourism helps generate trade opportunities, create decent jobs and deepen cultural exchanges among different peoples.
“Tourism is the world’s third largest industry after finance and automobile manufacturing, which works as a driving force of economic growth and a bridge of different cultures,” she said.
With the theme “Exploration of Asia Pacific Tourism Cooperation and Future Development”, the event attracted a total of 152 attendees, including the tourism ministers or representatives of 21 APEC economies, delegates from the APEC Secretariat, the United Nation World Tourism Organization, the World Travel and Tourism Council, the Asia Pacific Travel Association, and the APEC Center for International Sustainable Tourism.
Chui Sai On, chief executive of the Macao Special Administrative Region (SAR), addresses the opening ceremony of the 8th APEC Tourism Ministerial Meeting (TMM8) in Macao, south China, Sept 13, 2014.[Photo/Xinhua]
They will discuss five main topics including integration of Asia Pacific tourism markets, facilitating transformation and growth of the tourism industry, promoting intelligent tourism with modern technology and interconnection of Asia Pacific travel, and encouraging low-carbon development and co-operation between tourism operators.
Established in 1989, APEC is the highest level and most influential regional economic organization in the Asia-Pacific region.
It currently has 21 member economies and three official observers. To enhance tourism exchanges and cooperation and facilitate tourism development of the Asia Pacific Region, a biennial tourism ministerial meeting was launched in 2000.
TMM8 is the first APEC Tourism Ministerial Meeting hosted by China, which has been sending delegations to the event since its inception.