Top News UNWTO members plan coordinated restart of APAC tourism By TTG Asia / Posted on 17 September, 2021 9:25 Tourism leaders from across Asia-Pacific have met to plan the sector’s restart and recovery even as borders remain closed throughout the region. The 33rd joint meeting of the World Tourism Organization’s Commission for East Asia and the Pacific and its Commission for South Asia, which took place on September 14, came on the back of a challenging year for the region. Asia-Pacific continues to have the largest proportion of destinations closed to tourists The first to feel the impacts of the pandemic, the tourism sector in the Asia-Pacific region has also been the hardest hit, recording a 95 per cent fall in international arrivals in the first five months of 2021. With UNWTO data also showing that this region continues to have the largest proportion of destinations closed to tourists, the member states taking part in the virtual meetings focused on the coordination of policy measures and strategies to accelerate the recovery of tourism activities in the region. These include the phased lifting on travel restrictions and the introduction of travel corridors. Looking ahead, the members also agreed on the importance of upgrading the skills of the tourism labour force, as well as embracing innovation and digital transformation. UNWTO secretary-general Zurab Pololikashvili said: “The Asia and Pacific region has a proven record as a dynamic tourism destination. With the right policy measures and strong coordination, destinations can start safely welcoming back international visitors, thereby allowing tourism to deliver on its potential as a driver of recovery and inclusive growth.” The meetings attracted around 120 participants from 25 of UNWTO’s 29 member states in the region under the chairmanship of Malaysia and the Maldives.