VNAT’s Chairman Nguyen Trung Khanh attends tourism summits of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO)
On 14th June 2022, the 34th Joint Meeting of the UNWTO Commission for East Asia and the Pacific and the UNWTO Commission for South Asia (34th CAP- CSA) had the participation of over 100 delegates from member countries and organisations of UNWTO's Asia-Pacific region and some observers.
At the beginning of the meeting, Mr. Abdulla Mausoom - the Minister of Tourism, Republic of Maldives, Chairman of the meeting affirmed that Asia-Pacific is the region with many countries with the world's top fast-growing tourism industry in the period 2010-2019. He also emphasised that loosing or lifting travel restrictions is essential to restart tourism and bring practical socio-economic benefits. Maldives always put the safety of visitors and community as a top priority, and has opened since 2021, Maldives is confident to be a good example in the harmony between restarting the tourism industry and ensuring health safety. Although the restoration process has been receiving challenges, global cooperation through forums like UNWTO’s ones will open opprtunities to a more comprehensive recovery towards a sustainable and resilient tourism industry in the future.
At the meeting, Mr. Zurab Pololikashvili - Secretary-General of UNWTO reported the current recovery state of the world tourism and activities implemented by UNWTO to promote sustainable development. Accordingly, the world tourism industry is recovering gradually in 2022. Accordingly, world arrivals nearly tripled in January-March 2022 (+182%) compared to the same period of 2021, with almost 76 million more international tourists, in which Europe accounted for 50 million arrivals; Despite the fact that the first three months of 2022 saw a strong rebound, arrivals still remained 61% below 2019 levels. International tourist arrivals reached an estimated 117 million in the first quarter of 2022, a 4% increase in real terms from 2020 but still 62% below 2019 levels. Considering first quarter results, booking trends as well as the results of the UNWTO Confidence Index, UNWTO has revised upwards its 2022 scenarios. New scenarios point to a recovery of 55% to 70% of pre pandemic levels and a probable return to 2019 volumes in 2023.
Mr. Zurab Pololikashvili highlighted 5 priorities of UNWTO in the current period, including: Make tourism smarter: innovation and digital transformation; Green investments and entrepreneurship; Education and jobs; Build resilience, foster market intelligence and facilitate travel . To bring these priorities into practice, UNWTO recently has implemented a number of exclusive activities such as: High-level discussion at the United Nations General Assembly on the theme “Sustainable and resilient tourism is at the core of inclusive recovery”; The Best Tourism Villages by UNWTO Initiative; Supporting Digital Transformation in Small and Medium-sized Enterprises; Competency Based Training Programs (CBT), etc.
Reporting on UNWTO activities in the Asia-Pacific region, Mr. Harry Hwang, Deputy Director, Regional Department for Asia & the Pacific informed a number of activities that were implemented successfully by UNWTO in the past few years, namely: The 15th UNWTO Asia/Pacific Executive Training Programme on Tourism Policy and Strategy in Maldives; The 15th UNWTO/PATA Forum on Tourism Trends and Outlook in Guilin, China; The UNWTO Regional Conference on the Empowerment of Women in Tourism in Asia and the Pacific in Malaysia; technical assistance projects on tourism planning and tourism satellite accounts; Publish annual specialised reports, etc. Mr. Yoshiaki Hompo, Chief of UNWTO Regional Support Office for Asia and the Pacific (RSOAP) also reported on technical support activities of the Office, including the connection between the National Administration of Tourism and the Japan Nippon Foundation to propose a project for sustainable tourism recovery post COVID-19, are expected to be implemented by the end of 2022.
In addition, member countries reported on policies to respond to COVID-19 and promote the recovery of the tourism industry. VNAT’s Chairman Nguyen Trung Khanh stated that Vietnam have officially fully reopened to all destinations from 15th March 2022 and currently international tourists going to Viet Nam is neither requested to take any COVID test nor show proof of vaccination. All travel barriers are now lifted for the best experience and seamless travel for tourists. In the first 5 months of 2022, Vietnam welcomed over 200 thousand international tourist arrivals, nearly 50 million domestic arrivals, a massive peak compared to the last two years. Besides the adaptive strategy to foster tourism reopening and supporting measures for tourism enterprises and employees, there are some other reasons for marked recovery: Enhance vaccine coverage; flexible, adaptive and safety measures toward tourism reopening; closely cooperated to pilot the reopening scheme and then totally reopen the border with suitable and updated safety requirements for each period; Uphold promotion with the national campaign "Live Fully in Vietnam" and cooperate with many localities and businesses to design and publish new and interesting tourism products to attract more tourists.
Reports from other member countries at the meeting indicated, a number of policies have been effectively implemented in recent years to resume tourism activities such as: Loosening immigration policies and medical requirements (removing quarantine for travellers, easing or eliminating COVID-19 testing requirements, applying vaccine passports or not requiring vaccination certificates upon entry); Boosting vaccine coverage; Hosting tourism promotion and stimulation events, international sporting events; Implementing several campaign to promote tourism post COVID-19, etc…
On the same day, a ministerial round table was scheduled to be held, which proceeded under the theme “UNWTO Ministerial Round Table Conference on Tourism Resilience through Innovation and Digitalisation in Asia and Pacific.” with the participation of a number of ministers and heads of UNWTO member countries and international organisations. At this round table conference, tourism leaders discussed how to achieve sustainable development goals through digital transformation and application of technology to create smooth trips and improve the quality of tourist experiences. The delegates listened to diverse opinions from tourism industries with different development levels such as Japan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Maldives, Timor Leste...
TITC/ International Cooperation Department