In its eighth edition this year, the Global Tourism Economy Forum (GTEF) – which recently took place in Macau from October 13-15 – boasted an enhanced programming that saw the addition of the inaugural World Tourism Investment and Finance Conference (WTIFC), targeting worldwide leaders, and the UNWTO Tourism Tech Adventure: SportsTech, a competition in tourism and sports.
Commenting on the WTIFC, GTEF vice-chairman and secretary-general, Pansy Ho, said: “The idea of convening a collaborated event dedicated to the investment aspect of tourism is a remarkable opportunity to enhance practicality and actionable value for our attendants. Macau has been a magnet for foreign investment, especially for tourism industry in last two decade after connectivity was increasingly integrated.”
She added: “This explains why more and more big countries come to this forum, i.e. the EU picked the destination in 2018 to meet with a few big provinces in China and commercial units under China Chamber of Tourism for cooperation.
“We also enrich our content with business matching, i.e. more than 200 sessions were made this year, with the signing of some investment agreements. The investment forum sparked off conversation; we’ve got feedback to get it going and will elevate (the event) to international level with more participation in future.”
In her concluding remarks, Ho said: “GTEF was founded upon the mission of connecting East-West tourism interests. Through our collaboration, we are getting down to real business here, consolidating Macau’s potential to become a tourism capital hub in fuelling regional tourism growth.
“Through GTEF, I hope we have also showcased how Macau itself is another living proof of the transformational power of tourism. In Macau, not only have we continued to reinvest, but to reinvent. Blessed by our national policy, Macau is ready to take on another wave of development, as we continue to integrate into the Greater Bay Area framework, contributing our tourism experience to drive cross-industry collaboration with our neighbours, to share our culture and heritage with the world, and instil a sense of national pride among our people.”
Built on the concept of “a beautiful life” raised by Chinese president Xi Jinping, this year’s GTEF also centred discussions on global tourism economy under the theme of “Tourism and Leisure: Roadmap to a Beautiful Life”, offering insights on how diversified tourism offering can meet the ever-increasing needs of international visitors, enhancing happiness and the quality of life, ultimately creating a harmonious and beautiful life for humanity.
Looking ahead, Ho stated that GTEF’s will continue to pursue its strategic business model of partnering countries, while taking a nod from China’s development approach to lay out its direction for continual refinement and adjustment.
GTEF 2019 successfully gathered and engaged close to 2,000 participants, including ministerial officials of tourism and related fields, industry leaders, experts, scholars and participants from across the globe, along with delegations from partner countries Argentina and Brazil, as well as featured Chinese province Jiangsu.