In 2016, Asia and the Pacific received 309
million international tourist arrivals, 9% more than in 2015. By
2030 this number is expected to reach 535 million.
Over 20 countries gathered in Bangladesh
earlier this week for the 29th joint meeting of the UNWTO
Commissions for Asia, the Pacific and South Asia, to discuss
challenges facing the sector in the region, opportunities for
sustainable tourism development and the programme of work of UNWTO
in Asia for the coming two years.
“With growth comes power, and with power, comes
responsibility,” said UNWTO Secretary-General,
Taleb Rifai, opening the event. “With 1.8 billion
international tourists foreseen to travel the world by 2030, we
could end up with 1.8 billion opportunities or 1.8 billion
disasters. These 1.8 billion travellers can and should translate
into opportunities for inclusive economic growth, for more and
better jobs, opportunities to protect our natural and cultural
heritage, to better know and respect each other, to bond people,
to distribute wealth and share prosperity.”
The meeting recalled the advances of the region
in terms of visa facilitation, namely in Indonesia and India, in
line with UNWTO’s priority to promote safe, secure and seamless
It also reviewed the work of the UNWTO
technical committees on tourism competitiveness, sustainability,
statistics and Tourism Satellite Account (TSA), and the activities
being carried out at national level to celebrate the International
Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development 2017.
Further items on the agenda included the
transformation of the UNWTO Global Code of Ethics into an
international convention and the creation of national committees
on tourism ethics.
Fiji was selected to host the 2018
Regional Commissions meeting, and India as the proposed host
country of the official celebrations of World Tourism Day in 2019.
The joint meeting was preceded by a regional
forum on crisis communication in tourism, with a step-by-step
review of how to prepare a crisis communication plan and exchange
of experiences in managing communication in situations of crisis,
and of strategies for recovery.