The APEC Tourism Working Group (TWG) was formed in 1991 as a platform for tourism administrators of APEC economies to share information, exchange views and develop areas of cooperation in tourism trade and policies to support growth in the region through travel and tourism.

The TWG continues to work towards its shared target of 800 million international tourists by 2025. In 2019, the group continued to undertake work aligned with the current four pillars of the TWG Strategic Plan 2015–2019:

  1. Promote better understanding of tourism as an engine for economic growth
  2. Sustainable and inclusive growth
  3. Promote labor, skills development
  4. Certification and policy alignment

Additionally, the TWG has itself aligned with APEC Chile 2019’s push for integration, digital society, and sustainable and inclusive growth for women and SMEs in the travel and tourism and industry.

The TWG continues to pursue partnerships with relevant tourism stakeholders to progress its work.

The Economic Contribution of Tourism in the APEC Region

  • The tourism sector is one of the fastest growing economic sectors in the world. The total number of global tourist arrivals achieved a record high in 2018 at 1.4 billion people—a record achieved years ahead of forecast.
  • The Asia-Pacific region recorded the highest growth in terms of tourist arrivals and tourism receipts:
    • 345.1 million international tourist arrivals – this is up 6.5 percent compared to the previous year and accounts for 24.6 percent of global tourism arrivals.
    • USD432.9 billion in foreign exchange earnings – this is up 9.3 percent compared to the previous year and accounts for 29.9 percent of global tourism receipts.
  • In 2018, worldwide travel and tourism contributed USD8.8 trillion—10.4 percent of global GDP—and supported 319 million jobs (1 in every 10)[1].
  • The tourism sector directly and indirectly contributed to all 17 goals of United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, in particular, Economic Growth and Decent Work, Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure, and Responsible Consumption and Production.

[1] UNWTO statistics

Last page update: October 2019

Current Activities

APEC State of Tourism Report  

The TWG generates this one-page report on APEC tourism growth annually. It contains information such as regional statistics, key indicators and TWG projects to support those indicators, to raise awareness of the relevance of the tourism sector and inform policy decisions. The report demonstrates the importance of the industry and highlights the work of the TWG for APEC Leaders.

With support from guest organizations—the World Travel and Tourism Council and the International Air Transport Association—the TWG developed the first iteration of the report in 2015.

Download: State of APEC Tourism Report 2019

Workshop: Leveraging the Digital Economy to Promote an Inclusive Tourism Industry 

The workshop held on 7 May 2019 in Viña del Mar, Chile, explored how APEC economies can leverage digital tools to promote travel and tourism, with an emphasis on engaging women and SMEs. Two overarching themes emerged from the dialogue:

  1. The digital tourism economy presents opportunities and challenges, and governments and industry have a role to play in ensuring stakeholders have access to digital tools, infrastructure, and the skills needed to use these tools.
  2. Governments should pursue policy frameworks that support the benefits of digital tourism while mitigating potentially negative aspects.

A best practices report will provide APEC economies with actionable recommendations for policy frameworks that leverage digital tools to promote travel and tourism and inclusive economic growth.

Workshop on the Economic Impact of Cruise Tourism

The workshop held on 5–6 August 2019 in Singapore helped participants to gain an understanding of the global cruise tourism industry and how economies and destinations can best position themselves to benefit their micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and communities from income generated by the sector. Cruise tourism provides foreign exchange earnings, creating income in the running of community based MSMEs and goods and services provided to tourists. 

Workshop on Prospect Analysis for Sustainable Development of Tourism in Remote Areas of APEC Economies

The workshop, to be held on 10–11 October 2019 in Manila, aims to improve upon the knowledge and skills of tourism authorities through an analysis of differential characteristics of remote areas in APEC economies, existing bottlenecks and the tourism capacity potential of these areas without sacrificing the locations’ authenticity. It also aims to develop recommendations for APEC economies on ways of promoting awareness of remote areas’.


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Contact Us

Mr Mohd Daud Mohd Arif

Lead Shepherd
Senior Director, Tourism Policy and International Relations
Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Malaysia
[email protected]

Ms Joyce Marison Camacho QUIVOOIJ

Program Director
[email protected]