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Towards a More Prosperous and Sustainable Tourism Future

Dr Yasmeen Yasim and Luis Guillen Urubamba, Cusco, Peru | 07 June 2024

Around 50 percent of tourists to Peru come from APEC member economies.

The power of tourism in APEC economies is undeniable. Before the pandemic, the APEC region boasted the world's largest tourism market, welcoming over 800 million international visitors and generating 8.3 percent of our combined GDP. While we are witnessing a strong recovery, the pandemic's impact is still evident.

As APEC economies navigate this ongoing tourism revival, the APEC Tourism Working Group has identified two key priorities for 2024.

First, we aim to foster innovation to empower informal tourism actors to transition to the formal economy. Through workshops exploring digital tools and best practices, we will directly support APEC 2024's focus on digitalization and contribute to the APEC Roadmap to Promote Transition to the Formal and Global Economy.

Second, we are prioritizing inclusion and sustainable development. Guided by the Bangkok Goals on Bio-Circular-Green Economy, we are considering approaches to reduce carbon emissions, promote sustainable tourism management, and empower youth in rural areas. This aligns perfectly with APEC 2024's focus on inclusive growth and sustainable development, contributing to initiatives like the APEC Principles for Preventing and Reducing Food Loss and Waste and the La Serena Roadmap for Women and Inclusive Growth. These efforts will help us unlock tourism's full potential for a more resilient, inclusive, and sustainable future.

These priorities – innovation and inclusion – are woven into the very fabric of our work.

With our combined expertise and enthusiasm, we can progress significantly towards a more prosperous and sustainable tourism future for the Asia-Pacific region.

We will leverage digitalization and empower our workforce to support the transition to formal economies. We will integrate these themes into travel facilitation and sustainable tourism practices for a truly holistic approach.

In tandem, the Tourism Working Group will continue implementing projects that directly support the overarching goals of the APEC Tourism Strategic Plan 2020-2024. We will also delve deeper into these areas by sharing best practices and identifying collaborative opportunities to formulate our next APEC Tourism Strategic Plan.

The breathtaking city of Cusco, with its rich cultural heritage and stunning natural beauty, serves as a powerful reminder of the treasures that draw visitors to the APEC region. In fact, Machu Picchu, a world wonder and a main tourist destination, attracts around 50 percent of tourists from APEC member economies to Peru.

This underscores our responsibility to ensure tourism contributes to the preservation of these wonders for generations to come—setting an example of cooperation, sustainability and resilience.

Let us take away with us a beautiful memory of Peru with a spirit of collaboration and a shared vision. Let us use this platform to unlock the full potential of tourism in the APEC region, driving economic growth, fostering cultural exchange, and creating a more sustainable future for all.

Dr Yasmeen Yasim is the lead shepherd and Luis Guillen is the co-lead for the APEC Tourism Working Group.

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