‘Maritime Silk Road – From Macau We Begin’

MSAR Chief Executive Chui Sai On (middle) and fellow dignitaries officially open the Global Economy Tourism Forum (Photo: Government Information Bureau)

The Global Tourism Economy Forum • Macau 2014 (the ‘GTEF’ or ‘Forum’), hosted by the Secretariat for Social Affairs and Culture of the Macau SAR Government was staged at The Venetian Macau from 27th to 29th October 2014. Themed ‘Maritime Silk Road – From Macau We Begin’, the third edition of the GTEF engaged the active participation of Maritime Silk Road (MSR) countries and regions to further explore business opportunities through the Forum’s collaborative platform. The first Joint UNWTO/GTERC Annual Report on Asia Tourism Trends was presented during the opening ceremony, reflecting the two organizations’ shared commitment to promoting tourism as an economic driver.

The opening ceremony was officiated by prestigious guests Mr. Chui Sai On, Chief Executive of Macao SAR; Mr. Ho Hau Wah, Vice Chairman of The National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference and Chairman of GTEF; H.E. Dr. Massoud Soltanifar, Vice-President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, and President of the Iran Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization; Mr. Qiang Wei, Party Secretary of the Communist Party of China Jiangxi Provincial Committee; Mr. Li Gang, Director of the Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government in the Macao SAR and Honorary Chairman of GTEF; Mr. Márcio Favilla Lucca de Paula, Executive Director for Operational Programmes and Institutional Relations, UNWTO; Mr. Hu Zhengyue, Commissioner of the Office of the Commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China in theMacao SAR and Honorary Chairman of GTEF; Ms. Du Yili, Vice Chairman of the China National Tourism Administration (CNTA); Mr. An Qiyi, Vice-Chairman of the All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce (ACFIC); Dr. Michael Frenzel, Chairman of the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) and Honorary Chairman of GTEF; Mr. Scott Supernaw, Chairman of the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) and Honorary Vice Chairman of GTEF; and Ms. Wang Ping, Chairman of the China Chamber of Tourism and Vice Chairman of GTEF, among other guests.

Kazakhstan and Cambodia, both observer states in the previous edition, attended the latest edition with a large delegation and fully entered into promotion activities, with Kazakhstan making a presentation. The Forum was also excited to receive for the first time delegations from Middle Eastern countries and regions including Dubai from the United Arab Emirates in addition to Greece, Sri Lanka and Malaysia, further enhancing the event’s global profile.

The Forum continued to attract wide support from domestic provinces and regions such as Jiangxi Province, Shandong Province, Fujian Province and Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. Jiangxi Province showcased a mix of tourism scenery images plus tourism products, while ‘Fujian Province Dance Drama – Seeking Dreams Seeking on the Silk Sea Route’ was presented by Fujian Province to showcase its intangible cultural assets.

The event attracted close to 1,000 participants from around the world including four domestic provinces and regions as the Forum’s key partners plus some 180 local and overseas media representatives. In addition, the Forum brought together over 40 ministerial officials, globally‐renowned corporate leaders, experts and academia to deliver their respective address. 

Roundtable of Ministers and Private Sector CEOs

The much anticipated ‘Face to Face, Ministers and The Private Sector CEOs’ session invited tourism ministers and corporate leaders to engage in an in-depth dialogue on the current and future development of tourism and related industries under the topic of ‘Tourism – A driving force for co-operation in the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road’.

The expanded Exhibition Pavilion – opened to the public on 29thOctober – featured a variety of exhibitions, presentations and performances, creating more networking opportunities for participating exhibitors and different local sectors in Macau.

The next edition of GTEF will again be staged in Macau in November 2015, which the Pacific Alliance Countries of Mexico, Peru, Chile and Columbia will attend with Partner Country status. The Forum next year will for the first time mark the establishment of strategic collaboration with Latin American countries, thus further extending the coverage of the Forum to promote tourism.