The Macao Government Tourism Office (MGTO) participated in the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) regional conference in Thimphu, Bhutan, under the theme “Sustainable Development through Tourism.”
The one-day conference opened with remarks from UNWTO Secretary-General, Zurab Pololikashvili, and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bhutan, Tandi Dorji, among other officials.
The conference program included two other panel sessions, with one focusing on “Sustainable Development Goals, Sustainable Consumption and Production through Tourism,” while the other invited speakers to discuss Bhutan’s philosophical stance on “Gross National Happiness through Tourism.”
According to a statement issued by the tourism bureau, MGTO director Maria Helena de Senna Fernandes presented information about Macau’s tourism environment. She added that the SAR has developed an industry compatible with the wellbeing of the community.
Fernandes explained to the conference that exceptional development in tourism has also brought pressure upon residents, especially more recently, following the opening of the Hong Kong- Zhuhai-Macau Bridge. Visitor arrivals for the first four months of the year have already surpassed 10 million, marking a 20% year-on-year increase.
Yesterday, Fernandes also presented a report at the 53rd UNWTO Commission for East Asia and the Pacific on the state of tourism in Macau, pointing out new change factors including the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge and the Greater Bay Area plans.
As part of the conference, the tourism chief also participated in a regional dialogue session along with other government representatives from mainland China, Bhutan, Japan, India, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Vanuatu, the Maldives and Nepal among others.
The speakers presented the current status of sustainable tourism policies and practices in their destinations in line with the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals, followed by discussions.
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. LV