The Global Tourism Economy Forum • Macao 2020 (GTEF), successfully held on 9 December, brought together about 50 government leaders from Mainland China, Macao and other countries and regions, as well as high-profile industry executives and heads of international tourism organisations. Under the theme “Solidarity and Innovation: Reshaping Tourism in the New Global Economy”, a series of special sessions and interviews with industry leaders were presented.
The Forum adopted a hybrid online-offline format for the first time that united a global audience representing more than 60 regions. The online sessions attracted around 436,000 views. The opening ceremony was attended by about 160 guests at the main venue in Macao and there were more than 70 guests at a second site in Hubei Province in Mainland China. The ceremony was watched by about 300,000 viewers online.
Gansu – the Chinese province highlighted in the inaugural edition of GTEF – was once again invited as Featured Chinese Province. Through a series of presentations and a keynote address, Gansu representatives outlined the province’s tourism resources, available tour routes and diverse cultural experience offering.
Among the dignitaries presenting remarks at the opening ceremony were Vice Chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference and Forum Chairman of GTEF, Ho Hau Wah, and Representative of Chief Executive of the Macao SAR and Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture of the Macao SAR Government, Ao Ieong U.
Vice Chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference and Forum Chairman of GTEF, Ho Hau Wah, stated in his welcoming remarks: “GTEF is an advanced international exchange and cooperation platform dedicated to fostering the sustainable development of the global tourism economy. Let’s start anew at this historical point to build an open, inclusive and balanced world for the welfare and success of all peoples, and join hands to create a brighter future shared by the global community.”
On behalf of the Chief Executive of the Macao SAR, the Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture, Ao Ieong U, stated in her welcoming remarks: “Under the theme of ‘Solidarity and Innovation: Reshaping Tourism in the New Global Economy’, this Forum brings together prominent leaders of the public and private sectors as well as experts and professionals from across the world to proffer their foresights, letting brilliant minds converge to offer a new impetus, unveil new thinking, chart a new course and create new opportunities for our march towards global tourism recovery. The Forum is also set to inject a new dynamic and vitality for Macao’s tourism and economic development.”
A series of keynote speeches were given by: Vice Chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, Chairman of All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce (ACFIC) and Honorary Chairman of GTEF, Gao Yunlong; Secretary-General of World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), Zurab Pololikashvili; Minister of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of the People’s Republic of China and Honorary Chairman of GTEF, Hu Heping; Vice Chairman of the Gansu Provincial Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, Hao Yuan; Vice Governor of the People’s Government of Hubei Province, Zhang Wenbing; Minister of Ministry of Tourism of Saudi Arabia, Ahmed al-Khateeb; and President and Chief Executive Officer of World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) and Honorary Chairman of GTEF, Gloria Guevara Manzo.
In addition, Secretary for Economy and Finance of the Macao SAR Government and Executive Chairman of GTEF, Lei Wai Nong, delivered a special keynote at the Forum’s opening ceremony on “Macao’s Success Story: Public Private Partnerships for Tourism Economic Revival”. In his speech, Secretary Lei noted that Macao had been enduring this year an enormously challenging period of pandemic control and prevention. In view of the situation, the Macao SAR Government had promptly introduced a series of support measures and formulated various schemes to spur tourism and economic revival, he added.
Asia tourism trends
During the event, the UNWTO and the Global Tourism Economy Research Centre (GTERC) presented a joint report discussing the latest trends and prospects for tourism development in the Asia-Pacific region. The document presented measures adopted by countries in Asia to tackle the economic repercussions of the pandemic and to stimulate recovery. It included a case study on Macao.
The report found that in the first half of 2020 the international tourist arrivals worldwide plunged 65 percent. International arrivals in the Asia-Pacific region dropped by 72 percent. Europe recorded a decline of 66 percent, there was a 55-percent fall in the Americas, and both Africa and the Middle East recorded falls of 57 percent.
To strengthen GTEF’s reach in terms of international cooperation, GTERC signed cooperative agreements during the Forum, respectively with World Tourism Alliance and International Mountain Tourism Alliance.
Best practices analysed
The Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) and the Forum teamed up to explore the “Best Practices under the ‘New Normal’ through Consumer Sentiment Analysis”, sharing some prominent case studies. The session included a showcase of crisis communication plans and strategies to support the sustainable revitalisation of business for small- and medium-sized enterprises, tour operators and hospitality companies.
A series of industry entrepreneurs shared their insights in the “Asia Leadership Special Interview Series”. The decision-makers offered views on sustainability, heritage preservation, growth and customer experience strategies, among other topics. In the “Greater Bay Area Leadership Special Interview Series”, the leaders of Macao’s six main integrated resort operators shared their endeavours to foster Macao’s development into a world centre of tourism and leisure, and discussed measures introduced to address the negative impacts on operations of the pandemic.
Forum attendees were able to glean insights from the global leadership of the hospitality, aviation, technology and tourism businesses during the session “Global Leadership Special Feature: Hospitality, Aviation, Technology, and the Way Forward for Tourism”. Among the leaders that made presentations were: Trip.com Group Ltd Co-Founder and Executive Chairman James Liang; World Travel & Tourism Council Chairman and Hilton Worldwide Holdings Ltd President and Chief Executive Officer Christopher Nassetta; and Dubai Airports Chief Executive Officer Paul Griffiths.
A discussion of the opportunities in the tourism industry and the megatrends shaping its future was at the heart of the “Special Session: Solidarity to Reshape the Tourism Economy”. The speakers included Secretary-General of International Mountain Tourism Alliance He Yafei, Secretary-General of World Tourism Cities Federation Chen Dong, Secretary-General of World Tourism Alliance Liu Shijun, European Travel Commission Executive Director and GTEF Honorary Vice Chairman Eduardo Santander, PATA Chief Executive Officer Mario Hardy, and China Chamber of Tourism Chairman Ji Xiaodong.
The Forum made use of its worldwide audience to coordinate on 10 and 11 December 2,183 business-matching sessions, involving 291 tourism enterprises. The sessions were hosted by the Macao Trade and Investment Promotion Institute and made use for the first time of a one-stop online platform, allowing Macao enterprises to “go global”.
At the end of the Forum, GTEF announced that Italy and Shanghai would be featured as the Partner Country and Featured Chinese City of the 10th GTEF.