The Global Tourism Economy Forum (GTEF) 2023 was held in Macau from September 20 to 23, featuring a series of innovative and inspiring exchanges and discussions that demonstrated the destination’s strengths in hosting conventions as an international exchange platform while reinforcing its status as a world centre of tourism and leisure.
Themed Destination 2030: Unlocking the Power of Tourism for Business and Development, the three-day event gathered over 1,500 leading figures from different tourism sectors around the world, who were all encouraged to “think beyond tourism” and explore opportunities for the recovery of the global tourism economy. Participants also examined the new opportunities for tourism in Mainland China, Asia-Pacific, and Europe.
Hu Heping, minister of culture and tourism of The People’s Republic of China, and honorary chairman of GTEF (Mainland China) noted that the rising standards of living meant that more people are craving for specialty travel experiences. He also stressed that natural tourism sources are “precious assets” that need to be protected and conserved.
Meanwhile, vice chairman of All-China Federation of Industry & Commerce (Mainland China), Qiu Xiaoping, shared ways to build on the 2030 vision, such as enhancing the environment as well as innovating and improving consumer experiences.
Thinking ahead to the next ten years, WTTC’s president and CEO, Julia Simpson, predicted just one theme – growth. She noted: “By 2033, this sector will represent 11 per cent of the global GDP, one in every eight job will be in our sector. Today, China has a second largest travel tourism sector in the world worth over US$500 billion.
“Tourism here supports more jobs than anywhere else, with over 62 million Chinese working in this sector. By 2026, tourism in China is expected to overtake the US as the largest tourism economy in the world.”
Regarding sustainability, Simpson emphasised how critical the next ten years will be, and that it “must be the decade in which we scale up sustainable aviation fuels” and build up on electric planes and hydrogen fuel planes. She added that WTTC is pulling all leaders from every government to undertake a safety and feasibility study, to explore how each country is taking steps to reduce carbon emissions, and taking China’s lead in transforming clean energy using solar, wind and electricity.
The closing ceremony of the 10th GTEF was held at the Galaxy International Convention Center. Notable guests included National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference’s vice chairman and chairman of GTEF, Ho Hau Wah; UNWTO’s secretary-general, Zurab Pololikashvili; Macau SAR Government’s secretary for economy and finance and executive chairman of GTEF, Lei Wai Nong; and vice chairman and secretary-general of GTEF, Pansy Ho.
Since its first edition in 2012, GTEF has engaged over 14,000 on-site participants and over 2.3 million online participants from 95 countries/regions across six continents including Asia, Europe, South America, North America, Africa and Oceania in its past ten editions.
In addition, this year’s GTEF garnered high recognition from across the global tourism industry and also manifested Macau’s capabilities and advantages in MICE.