Macao Government Tourism Office (MGTO) Director, Maria Helena de Senna Fernandes, was one of the guest speakers joining the “World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Regional Conference on Sustainable Development through Tourism,” held today (June 3), in Thimphu, Bhutan. The conference was organized ahead of the 31st Joint Meeting of the UNWTO Commission for East Asia and the Pacific and the UNWTO Commission for South Asia, and related events, which attracted the participation of top tourism officials and representatives from 25 countries and territories from across the region.
As tourism leaders come together for the 31st Joint Meeting of the UNWTO Commission for East Asia and the Pacific and the UNWTO Commission for South Asia, which is UNWTO´s principal annual event in the Asia Pacific region, a UNWTO Regional Conference was once again organized in tandem, this year under the theme of “Sustainable Development through Tourism.”
Senna Fernandes discusses sustainable tourism policies at High-Level Dialogue
MGTO Director participated in a High-Level Dialogue session of the regional conference, together with other top government representatives in tourism from Mainland China, Bhutan, Japan, India, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Vanuatu, Maldives, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Mongolia, as well as Pacific Asia Travel Association CEO. The speakers presented the current situation of sustainable tourism policies and practices in their destinations in line with United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals, followed by discussions.
Maria Helena de Senna Fernandes stated at the session that tourism is a pillar industry of Macao’s economy that brought steady economic development to the city, and enabled the Government to improve education, health care, employment, welfare, culture, sports, and multiple other conditions. However, the outstanding tourism development also brought pressure to residents’ lives, especially more recently, following the opening of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge, with visitor arrivals for the first four months of the year already surpassing ten million arrivals, marking a 20 per cent year-on-year increase. The Central Government has positioned Macao’s development as a world centre of tourism and leisure, hence while developing the city’s economy, the Macao SAR Government also has to actively develop a tourism industry compatible with the people’s wellbeing, in order to build Macao into a good place with quality for living and travelling, into a sustainable city.
The one-day conference opened with remarks by UNWTO Secretary-General, Zurab Pololikashvili, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bhutan, Tandi Dorji, among other officials. The program of the conference also included two other panel sessions, with one zooming in on “Sustainable Development Goals, Sustainable Consumption and Production through Tourism”, while the other invited speakers to address Bhutan’s advocated philosophy in a discussion on “Gross National Happiness through Tourism”.
Macao tourism situation update at UNWTO Commission for East Asia and the Pacific
Tomorrow (June 4) will be held the 31st Joint Meeting of the UNWTO Commission for East Asia and the Pacific and the UNWTO Commission for South Asia, after separate meetings of each commission, namely the 57th Meeting of the UNWTO Commission for South Asia and the 53rd Meeting of the UNWTO Commission for East Asia and the Pacific, with the agenda of the meetings including the review of UNWTO´s programme of work for the region, among other topics.
MGTO Director is slated to report at the 53rd UNWTO Commission for East Asia and the Pacific on the latest tourism situation in Macao, pointing out new change factors like the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge and the Greater Bay Area development plans, along with main events lined up for this year, namely Art Macao, the celebrations of the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the Macao SAR, and more.
Macao is an Associate Member of UNWTO since 1981, actively participating over the years in events and projects organized by the organization, with the aim to strengthen international tourism cooperation, enhance the city’s profile, and engagement with the world’s top international tourism organization.