MACAO, Sept. 22 (Xinhua) -- Sustainability and green transformation are among the top priorities for tourism industry development in Asia-Pacific countries and regions in the coming years, experts said Friday at a tourism forum in Macao.
Participants in the 10th Global Tourism Economy Forum, which kicked off on Thursday in the Macao Special Administrative Region (SAR), underlined the significance of sustainability for the region's tourism recovery and innovations after the COVID-19 pandemic.
Harry Hwang, director of the Regional Department for Asia and the Pacific of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), proposed that UNWTO members in the region should reinforce investment in tourism infrastructure, strengthen institutional and legal frameworks, and create an enabling environment for entrepreneurship, jobs, communities, and education.
He noted that product development and diversification, reduction of seasonality, niche products and new destinations are among other top priorities for the region's tourism development.
Maria Helena de Senna Fernandes, director of the Macao SAR government tourism office, said that technology has transformed and is still continuing to transform the way people do things, especially on the tourism sustainability side.
"There are a lot of better ways to reach our tourists before they arrive, when they are in town, and even days after they've left," she said.
The COVID-19 pandemic has urged Macao to make its tourism industry more sustainable by further diversifying its economy and developing the new sectors of technology, finance, exhibitions and conventions, and culture and sports, Fernandes added.
Christina Garcia Frasco, the Philippines' secretary of tourism, said the efforts of national and local governments are essential to translate tourism sustainability principles into action.
For the Philippines, government agencies across the country have come together to ensure the accessibility of tourist destinations and identify the essential pillars for their long-term development, such as sewage systems, water systems, waste management and digitization in the operation of tourism communities, Frasco said.
Themed "Destination 2030: Unlocking the Power of Tourism for Business and Development," the three-day forum aims to unleash the potential of mutual cooperation between Chinese and international tourism markets and provide new thinking and impetus for the development of the global tourism economy. ■