At the 2019 Global Tourism Economy Forum, the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has highlighted the importance of diversification, creativity and innovation for ensuring that the sector’s unique potential as a driver of sustainable economic growth and social inclusivity is fully realized.
Against a backdrop of rising tourist numbers ministers, government representatives and key public and private sector decision-makers met in Macau to explore the challenges and opportunities facing the global tourism sector today. The 2019 edition of the Global Tourism Economy Forum was held in line with the “Beautiful Life” initiative of Chinese President Xi Jinping, and Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili headed a group of UNWTO experts leading discussions over the course of the three days.
Within the framework of the forum, UNWTO announced the winner of the 1st UNWTO Sports Start-Up Competition, in partnership with Football Club Barcelona Innovation Hub and the Qatar National Tourism Council. Five smart-ups, chosen from a field of more than 300 entrants from around the world, were invited to Qatar to pitch their ideas to investors and tourism sector leaders. They were judged on their level of market disruption, investment potential and ability to contribute to the Sustainable Economic Goals from Belgium was named as the overall winner.
UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili said: “Macau is leading the way, showing the world how the digital transformation of tourism can make the sector more sustainable and more accessible. This Forum brings together some of the brightest minds of our sector. Smart tourism is key to managing the ongoing growth in tourism numbers in a responsible and sustainable way and ensuring that the many and varied benefits that come with this are felt as widely as possible.”
This commitment to exploring the potential of sports tourism was also highlighted at a special panel session, co-hosted by UNWTO. Entitled “How Tourism, Leisure and Sports Lead to a Beautiful Life”, the event involved tourism ministers alongside private sector CEOs.
Another key highlight of WTEF 2019 was the presentation of the latest Asia Tourism Trends report, published by UNWTO in partnership with the Global Tourism Economy Research Centre (GTERC). This timely publication explores the latest tourism trends and outlooks for the region, with a particular emphasis on Chinese outbound tourism to South America and the growth of health tourism and sports tourism across the Asia-Pacific region.