The third Global Tourism Economy Forum (GTEF) took place in Macau on Oct. 27 and 28. Kazakhstan’s delegation, headed by First Deputy Foreign Minister Rapil Zhoshybayev, reported on the upcoming EXPO 2017 and Kazakhstan’s tourism potential.
A special session devoted to tourism in Kazakhstan, as well as information on EXPO 2017, caught the public’s interest. Visitors were shown a special themed stand where they had a chance to learn more about the upcoming international specialised exhibition and sights of Kazakhstan.
A memorandum of cooperation between the Astana EXPO 2017 National Company and the Chamber of Tourism of China was signed during the forum. Membership of the state-owned company in the Pacific Asian Travel Association (PATA) was agreed upon; a memorandum of cooperation was signed as well.
Another point of interest at the forum was the face-to-face session, which puts global leaders fromthe private sector into real-time discussion with tourism ministers from European and Asian countries. At the session, Zhoshybayev described trends in world tourism and measures undertaken by the government of Kazakhstan to improve the tourism climate as well as plans to develop infrastructure. Zhoshybayev, who also serves as the National EXPO 2017 Commissioner, stressed that EXPO 2017, which will be held in Astana in June-September 2017, is going to become the locomotive driving tourism in the country.
The forum plays a significant role for a global tourism destination like Macau, with tourism being the pillar of the city’s economy. Chief of Office of the Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture Cecília Cheung commented that “Macau has been closely following the central government’s twelfth five-year plan to establish the city as a world centre of tourism and leisure as well as a regional trade and business service platform.”
“As Macau undertakes its mission to develop into a world tourism and leisure centre, the city’s need to remain abreast of global affairs increases. We gathered all of the tourism heavyweights and experts who can share their insightful perspectives,” said Cheung.
At the forum, Zhoshybayev also met with Vice President of the Islamic Republic of Iran Masoud Soltanifar to discuss Iran’s participation in EXPO 2017 and cooperation in the tourism sector.
Also, Zhoshybayev held talks with the ministers of tourism of Cambodia and Croatia, as well as Director of the UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) Márcio Favilla and Chairman of PATA ScottSupernaw. Following the meeting, Zhoshybayev invited participants to visit Kazakhstan in hopes of furthering cooperation in the economic, trade and tourism sectors.
Moreover, Kazakhstan and the UNWTO agreed on a joint action plan, which will include training volunteers from Kazakhstan and developing research to improve the country’s visa policy.
The first two editions of GTEF achieved phenomenal success and earned the forum a solid reputation as an effective platform that brings key decision-makers in the global tourism industry to Macau to exchange perspectives with their Chinese counterparts, explore business ideas and generate solutions to far-reaching issues. Last year, the second edition of GTEF attracted over 1,100 representatives from 29 countries and regions as well as delegations from 10 provinces and cities of mainland China.
Recognising the unique values of GTEF and its growing momentum, many international organisations are building closer partnerships with GTEF. During the forum in 2014, the UNWTO and the coordinator of GTEF, Global Tourism Economy Research Centre published their first report of their joint research projects on issues discussed during the past two editions of GTEF.
Kazakhstan’s delegation included the heads of the tourism departments of the Ministry of Investment and Development and the Astana EXPO 2017 National Company, as well as Kazakh diplomats.