Tourism Summit 2015
Asia Pacific is at the forefront of tourism growth and development. The Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) statistics showed that collectively the destinations within this region received approximately 520 million international visitor arrivals last year while the World Travel and Tourism Council data showed that travel and tourism receipts accounted for 8.5% of Asia Pacific GDP or USD 3.6 billion.
Tourism is an important foreign exchange earner and contributes substantially towards economic growth and employment generation in many countries, as well as towards regional understanding and cooperation. Therefore, continued growth in a sustainable manner is vital to entrench its resilience and in this, all stakeholders have a role to play as each bears part of the responsibility.
The ASEAN Economic Community recognises the importance of tourism to the economies of its members hence has a specific tourism component to strengthen and promote it. International visitor arrivals to ASEAN reached 74.8 million in 2012, with intra-ASEAN travel accounting for 46% of it. Enhanced air connectivity with the launching of new airlines in the past few years, namely Air Asia Philippines, Scoot, Malindo Airways, Mandala, Thai Smile and Lao Central Airlines came about as a result of the remarkable increase in demand.
Malaysia has named tourism as one of the National Key Economic Areas (NKEA) to drive growth as it is the third biggest income earner for the country. The goal is to draw 36 million visitors by 2020. Malaysia’s government is confident of achieving this target despite major safety and security challenges as fellow ASEAN members continue to provide the bulk of Malaysia’s inbound visitors. It has also declared 2015 as the Year of Festivals to drive tourism growth. Furthermore, Malaysia has earned various accolades in tourism such as the 9th most visited country in the world and the 2nd best shopping destination in Asia Pacific by Globe Shopper Index.
Key issues that will be addressed at this summit include the future of tourism in Malaysia and ASEAN post AEC 2015; promoting tourism and maximising returns from tourism development; innovation in tourism; collaboration with other industries in niche tourism; as well as the key evergreen issues of connectivity, infrastructure and sustainability. This summit is intended as a timely platform to provide industry updates, expert insights and practical knowledge, and also as a conduit for networking, sharing and forming strategic partnerships amongst thought leaders, business owners and senior executives of public and private enterprises involved in tourism and its supporting activities.