Thailand’s Minister of Tourism and Sports, Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn, shared with Tourism Ministers from the 21 APEC member economies a statement that reflects the outcomes of the APEC Tourism Ministerial Meeting.
Minister Phiphat describes members’ assessment of the tourism industry as the region exits the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as initiatives to revive and restore the industry for the immediate and long term. His statement is on the “Tourism of the Future: Regenerative Tourism.”
At the meeting in Bangkok on Friday, Ministers endorsed a set of guidelines for rebuilding the tourism industry across the region through investment, the creation of employment opportunities, human resource development, occupational standards, and support for small businesses.
The guidelines, updating advice from the pre-COVID era, reflects the need to reduce barriers that have a direct impact on visitor exports and tourist flows in the region. It covers seven guiding principles:
– Respect local resource custodians, traditions and culture
– Enhance sustainable and responsible travel and tourism
– Encourage the exchange of information and open dialogue
– Foster human resource development, skills training and occupational standards tools for a stronger industry workforce including workers with disabilities
– Utilize innovative technologies to improve economic, social, cultural, and environmental well-being, as well as establish partnerships
– Identify synergies and utilize resources through public-private partnership to encourage tourism investment in the APEC region
– Strengthening the resiliency of tourism to prepare for future shocks
Ministers also looked beyond recovery and set their sights on the long term. They agreed that the future of tourism needs to contribute to all elements of wellbeing not only for travelers, but for local businesses, as well as their employees. They welcomed the introduction of the “Policy Recommendations for Tourism of the Future: Regenerative Tourism,” a set of policy recommendations covering concrete actions that member economies can consider in managing this next phase of the industry.
They envision tourism that is regenerative in nature; does no harm and instead gives back by helping sustainable practices thrive. Ministers want to build an industry that responds to change and which will continue to thrive amid future crises.
Read the Policy Recommendations for Tourism of the Future: Regenerative Tourism
The results of the APEC Tourism Ministerial Meeting, as reflected in the chair’s statement, shows that tourism officials in the region are aware that the most affected by current challenges, and all disruptions that will arise in the future, are the industry’s smallest players who play at the local level—such as small business and its mostly women employees who were most affected by the pandemic.
Gathered under the theme of APEC 2022 “Open. Connect. Balance.” they envision the future of tourism as inclusive and sustainable.
Peru, the chair of APEC 2024, will host the next APEC Tourism Ministerial Meeting.