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APEC Tourism Groups meet in Pattaya, Thailand

The two main tourism-related units of the Asia Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC) started their meeting in…

The two main tourism-related units of the Asia Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC) started their meeting in Pattaya after being forced to postpone them from last April due to the SARS crisis.

The 22nd APEC Tourism Working Group Meeting and the 3rd APEC Tourism Forum are being held from June 9-14, 2003.

The meetings will bring together senior officials responsible for the travel and tourism industries of the APEC countries to discuss ways to keep the regional travel and tourism industry on track in the aftermath of the war in Iraq and the SARS crisis.

Representatives will come from Australia, Canada, Chile, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Philippines, Singapore, Chinese Taipei, Thailand, United States, and Vietnam.

Thailand is a SARS-free country. The lifting of the World Health Organization advisories against Singapore and Hong Kong has further improved the atmosphere and helped restore confidence in the travel and tourism industry.

The TWG meeting is one of a series of APEC meetings due to take place in Thailand all through 2003. They cover a broad spectrum of activities including finance and telecommunications. Separate meetings will focus on promoting networking opportunities among the private and public sectors.

TAT Governor Mrs Juthamas Siriwan said, Thailand is fortunate to be hosting so many important APEC meetings during these difficult days. Many of the decisions reached here will have an important bearing on the future of the Asia-Pacific region and the world.

Mrs Juthamas said the theme of APEC 2003, `A World of Differences: Partnership for the Future`, was proposed by Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra and has proved to be extremely timely and appropriate in view of global developments.

Thailand is proud to be playing an important part in this process of global change, she said. It is obvious that the tourism industry will need all the help it can get.

The APEC TWG was formed in 1991 to help the tourism industry support economic growth and social development in the Asia-Pacific region. The TWG allows regional executives to share information, exchange views and develop areas of cooperation on trade and policies.

APEC has set up a Tourism Information Network (TIN), which contains a collective knowledge base of tourism information via a single, convenient point of access. Its purpose is to assist target audiences to network and collaborate.

It has also established an APEC International Centre for Sustainable Tourism (AICST), which has become a forum for a collaborative research network to build linkages, research and education capacities.

A recent research project Best Practice in the Development of Tourism Satellite Accounts (TSAs) in the APEC region was designed to help APEC member economies set up a credible and internationally comparable set of standards that track tourism growth and measure the contribution of tourism to member economies.

The research results have been compiled into a publication which includes survey results of 11 case studies of member economies that have already developed, or are in the process of developing, TSAs of their own.

According to APEC tourism officials, encouraging productive investment in the tourism sector is vital for the continued economic growth of the travel and tourism sector. Future work plans of the TWG will look to include:

  • surveying the different policies, laws and regulations adopted by APEC member economies to encourage investment in tourism;
  • identifying opportunities for investment in tourism in the future (up to 2005) and;
  • gathering of information on potential investors worldwide, so as to assist

    APEC economies to find appropriate investors

The TWG meeting will be followed by a one-day tourism forum on June 12 that will be open to media. The forum theme is Sustainable Pathways to Quality and Value in Tourism in the APEC Region which will be addressed by a number of prominent speakers from Australia, Hong Kong, and Canada.

The Forum will began at 09.00 with a welcome speech from the Minister of Tourism and Sport, Mr Sontaya Khunplome, followed by a keynote speech by former Tourism Authority of Thailand Governor Seree Wangpaichitr. The World Tourism Organization`s director for the Asia-Pacific, Dr Harsh Varma, will also speak on global tourism trends.

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