UNWTO Commission for East Asia and the Pacific and the UNWTO Commission for South Asia
The 29th Joint Meeting of the UNWTO Commission for East Asia and the Pacific and the UNWTO Commission for South Asia (29th CAP-CSA) & UNWTO Regional Forum on Crisis Communication will was held at the port city of Chittagong, Bangladesh from 15 to 17 May, 2017.
Permanent Secretary, Dr Ahmed Salih attended this meeting, which is UNWTO´s principal annual event in the Asia-Pacific region. Three hundred participants from over 20 countries attended this meeting including UNWTO Member States, UNWTO Affiliate Members and international and regional organizations joined the meeting.
The main topics addressed in the meeting included: a) UNWTO´s Programme of Work for the Region for the coming two years, b)Tourism and Ethics, c) International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development 2017, d) Tourism Crisis Communication, e) Other statutory issues related to the UNWTO Asia-Pacific Member States and f) challenges facing the sector in the region
According to the data on tourism statistics, last year Asia and the Pacific received 309 million international tourist arrivals, 9% more than in 2015; by 2030 this number is expected to reach 535 million. In inaugurating the event, UNWTO Secretary General said “With growth comes power, and with power, comes responsibility. With 1.8 billion international tourists foreseen to travel the world by 2030, we could end up with 1.8 billion opportunities or 1.8 billion disasters. These 1.8 billion travellers can and should translate into opportunities for inclusive economic growth, for more and better jobs, opportunities to protect our natural and cultural heritage, to better know and respect each other, to bond people, to distribute wealth and share prosperity.”
In his speech, Minister of Minister of Civil Aviation and Tourism of Bangladesh, Rashed Khan Menon said “Tourism can help us achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Your presence in Bangladesh will help us to support our tourism sector achieve its potential.”
The participants were informed of the recent developments in tourism in the region including visa facilitation, namely in Indonesia and India, in line with UNWTO’s priority to promote safe, secure and seamless travel. It also reviewed the work of the UNWTO technical committees on tourism competitiveness, sustainability, statistics and Tourism Satellite Account (TSA), and the activities being carried out at national level to celebrate the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development 2017. Report of the committee on tourism competitiveness was given by Dr Ahmed Salih as Maldives is a member of the Tourism Competitiveness Committee.
The venue for the 2018 Regional Commissions meeting will be Fiji and India will be the host country of the official celebrations of World Tourism Day in 2019.
The regional forum on crisis communication in tourism, was held prior to the Commission Meeting. The forum shared with the participants a step-by-step review of how to prepare a crisis communication plan, execution of the plan and some of the common mistakes that must be avoided at times of crisis. Following the key note address, a panel discussion was held and the panellists shared their experiences from the region in managing communication at times of crisis, and of strategies for recovery.