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UNWTO Director for Asia and the Pacific discusses tourism initiatives and opportunities at PATA Destination Experience Forum

Discover key insights from an interview with Harry Huang, UNWTO Director for Asia and the Pacific, at the PATA Destination Experience Forum. Learn about UNWTO initiatives in Asia, challenges and opportunities in the tourism industry, and the importance of sustainability and innovation. Gain valuable insights into shaping the future of tourism in the region.

Harry Huang, the Director of the Regional Department for Asia Pacific at the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), shared his insights and perspectives during an interview at the PATA Destination Experience Forum & Expo 2023 in Kuching, Sarawak. As an esteemed representative of the UNWTO, Huang discussed the significance of the event, UNWTO initiatives in Asia, and the challenges and opportunities in the tourism industry.

Event Significance

Huang expressed his excitement about the PATA Destination Experience Forum, emphasizing the importance of such gatherings after the global crisis that the tourism industry has faced. He highlighted the uniqueness of the destination and its cultural and gastronomic offerings, underscoring the essential role of friendly local people in completing the attraction.

UNWTO Initiatives in Asia

When asked about UNWTO’s initiatives in Asia, Huang stressed the importance of sustainability in tourism. He emphasized that sustainability is no longer a choice but a necessity. UNWTO aims to support member countries in developing sustainable tourism policies and strategies through their project, “Tourism for SDG” (Sustainable Development Goals). This project aligns with the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals, focusing on ending hunger, reducing inequality, and ensuring inclusive development.

Challenges and Opportunities in Tourism

Huang acknowledged that the tourism industry is a crossover industry that interacts with various sectors. He stated that every Sustainable Development Goal can be addressed through sustainable tourism, particularly in terms of generating decent job opportunities for youth and women. He acknowledged the difficulties faced by the industry in bringing back the workforce post-pandemic. UNWTO is working closely with member states and destinations to provide capacity-building programs and training to address this challenge.

Opportunities in the Tourism Industry

Rather than focusing on challenges, Huang emphasized the need to seize opportunities. He stressed the importance of having the right partnerships and exploring compensation rather than competition within the industry. He highlighted three major opportunities: innovation, technology, and human resources. Leveraging these opportunities will help drive the tourism industry forward and ensure its sustainable growth.

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