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					                                                                                       GENERAL

                                                                                       E/ESCAP/1060
                                                                                       7 February 1997

                                                                                       ORIGINAL: ENGLISH


ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COMMISSION FOR ASIA AND THE PACIFIC

Fifty-third session
23-30 April 1997
Bangkok



          EMERGING ISSUES AND DEVELOPMENTS AT THE REGIONAL LEVEL:
                      TRANSPORT AND COMMUNICATIONS

                                      (Item 6 (d) of the provisional agenda)

 REPORT OF THE INTERGOVERNMENTAL MEETING ON TOURISM DEVELOPMENT


                                               Note by the secretariat




                                                     SUMMARY

      The Meeting reviewed developments in six major issue areas of tourism development and urged the
 secretariat to give tourism high priority and intensify tourism activities. It recognized the important role of tourism
 in the socio-economic development of the Asian and Pacific region and the need for continued work to strengthen
 national capabilities in tourism planning and promote regional cooperation in tourism development.

       The Meeting recommended that ESCAP should strengthen its activities in the following areas: (a) the
 economic impact of tourism; (b) the environmental management of tourism development; (c) infrastructure
 development and investment for the tourism sector; (d) human resources development in the tourism sector; (e)
 facilitation of travel for the expansion of intraregional tourism and (f) regional/subregional promotion of tourism,
 including tourism along the Asian Highway.

       The Meeting recommended that the following matters should be considered for action or brought to the
 attention of the Commission: (a) the need for seminars and workshops to facilitate cooperation and sharing of
 information and experiences with respect to environmental management of tourism development; (b) the need for
 training through workshops at both the national and the regional levels to build capabilities aimed at attracting
 private sector participation as well as public-private sector partnerships for investment in tourism and related
 infrastructure development; (c) the requirement for action to establish the regional network for tourism training
 institutes and organizations and define the scope of its actions; (d) the need for a regional seminar to share country
 experiences in facilitation of travel for the promotion of intraregional tourism.

        The Meeting agreed with the recommendation that the name of the Committee on Transport and
 Communications should be changed to "Committee on Transport, Communications, Tourism and Infrastructure
 Development", subject to the outcome of the general review of the subsidiary structure of the Commission by the
 fifty-third session.

     The Commission is requested to consider the report and to provide guidance on the future direction of work.
                                                                       -i-


                                                                CONTENTS

Chapter                                                                                                                                          Page

  I.   MATTERS CALLING FOR ACTION BY THE COMMISSION OR
       BROUGHT TO ITS ATTENTION .............................................................................................                         1

       A.    Recommendations for the consideration of the Commission..............................................                                    1

       B.    Major conclusions and decisions to be noted by the Commission......................................                                      2

 II.   PROCEEDINGS OF THE MEETING........................................................................................                             3

       A.    Tourism trends and prospects worldwide and in the Asian and Pacific region:
             challenges and opportunities ................................................................................................            3

       B.    Strengthening national capabilities in tourism planning and promotion of
             regional cooperation in tourism development .....................................................................                        4

       C.    Adoption of the report .......................................................................................................... 12

III.   ORGANIZATION OF THE MEETING..................................................................................... 12

       A.    Opening ................................................................................................................................ 12

       B.    Attendance............................................................................................................................ 14

       C.    Election of officers ............................................................................................................... 14

       D.    Agenda.................................................................................................................................. 14
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               I. MATTERS CALLING FOR ACTION BY THE COMMISSION OR
                            BROUGHT TO ITS ATTENTION

                   A. Recommendations for the consideration of the Commission

1.       The Meeting recommended that countries which had already undertaken studies on the
economic impact of tourism should continuously keep them updated to maintain their usefulness.
Countries which had not yet studied the economic impact of tourism should initiate such research.

2.       The Meeting recommended that, for sustainable tourism development, countries in the region
should give more attention to planning, coordination and monitoring by government agencies and should
create awareness in the mass media, with the general public and with international tourists about
protecting and preserving the environment.

3.       The Meeting recommended that, subject to resource availability, seminars and workshops
should be organized by ESCAP and the World Tourism Organization (WTO) to facilitate: (a) the
sharing of experiences on developing ecotourism; (b) the promotion of technical cooperation among
countries by exchanging visits of experts in the environmental management of tourism development;
and (c) the sharing of information between countries that had developed environmental management
more extensively and countries which had requested assistance in that area of tourism development.

4.       The Meeting recommended that, in order to attract private sector participation, Governments
should address such issues as creating a conducive environment, providing investment incentives,
introducing adequate and supporting legislation and building public sector capability for the formulation
and prioritization of projects and negotiations. Training was needed through workshops at both the
national and the regional levels to build capabilities among government officials in the areas of
formulation and prioritization of projects as well as in drafting and negotiating contract documents for
the public and private sector partnerships for investment in tourism and related infrastructure
development.

5.       The Meeting recommended action at the national and regional levels with regard to human
resources development in the tourism sector, as follows:

         (a)   At the national level: action should focus on (i) the preparation of a national human
resources development strategy and (ii) the establishment of a national committee or council for tourism
education and training in order to achieve the best possible coordination among different agencies;

         (b)   At the regional level: action should focus on establishing a regional network for tourism
training institutes and organizations and a specific set of actions that involve: (i) promoting sharing of
experiences; (ii) training of trainers; (iii) advisory services and exchange of faculties; (iv) creating a
database; (v) publishing a newsletter and bulletin and (vi) organizing meetings of the network at certain
intervals.




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6.       The Meeting recommended that Governments should take action to facilitate travel, which could
include the efficient managing and processing of visas, reducing or removing travel taxes, simplifying
border formalities and relaxing customs regulations. The Meeting recommended that a regional seminar
should be organized to share experience in travel facilitation.

7.       The Meeting recommended that ESCAP, WTO, UNDP, UNEP, UNESCO, ICAO, ILO, WHO,
the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the European Union, the Mekong River Commission, the Tourism
Council of the South Pacific (TCSP), the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA), the East Asia Travel
Association (EATA) and other international organizations directly or indirectly involved in tourism
should make concerted efforts in areas of their special competence to strengthen national capabilities in
sustainable tourism development.

8.       Recognizing the important role of tourism in the socio-economic development of the Asian and
Pacific region, the Meeting stressed that tourism should be given high priority in the ESCAP
programme, and urged the secretariat to intensify tourism activities.       In that connection, the Meeting
stressed the need for the secretariat to expand the professional regular staff resources for tourism
activities.

9.       The Meeting recommended that the name of the Committee on Transport and Communications
should be changed to “Committee on Transport, Communications, Tourism and Infrastructure
Development”, subject to the outcome of the general review of the subsidiary structure of the
Commission to be undertaken in 1997.        Noting that tourism was presently part of the subprogramme
“Transport and communications”, the Meeting stressed that tourism should be included in the title of the
subprogramme in the future ESCAP programme in view of the greatly expanded scope of the
secretariat’s tourism activities.



                 B. Major conclusions and decisions to be noted by the Commission

10.      The Meeting recommended that ESCAP should strengthen its activities in the following areas:

         (a)   The economic impact of tourism;

         (b)   Environmental management of tourism development;

         (c)   Infrastructure development and investment for the tourism sector;

         (d)   Human resources development in the tourism sector;

         (e)   Facilitation of travel for the expansion of intraregional tourism;

         (f)   Regional and subregional promotion of tourism:



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                (i)     Promotion of tourism in Pacific island countries;
               (ii)     Promotion of tourism in the Greater Mekong subregion;
              (iii)     Promotion of tourism along the Asian Highway.

11.     The Meeting agreed that there was a need for reliable, systematic research on tourism’s
economic impact in view of the increasingly important role of tourism in the socio-economic
development of many Asian and Pacific countries and areas.

12.     The Meeting considered that the rapid growth of tourism challenged not only the ecology of
tourist destinations, but also the effectiveness and efficiency of the government’s role in environmental
management of tourism development.

13.     The Meeting expressed concern that inadequate infrastructure in many ESCAP member
countries was one of the most serious constraints to future tourism development. It emphasized the need
for integrated planning or master plans with a clear mandate for the government to play the role of
facilitator for investment from the private sector.        It was noted that tourism planning should be
integrated and coordinated with the full range of infrastructure agencies, especially transportation and
other basic services.

14.     The Meeting recognized that the need to develop the required human resources for the tourism
industry had become imperative as a consequence of the rapid growth of tourism. It strongly supported
the secretariat’s initiatives to establish a regional networking of tourism training institutes and
organizations in the Asian and Pacific region.

15.     The Meeting recognized the importance for tourism development of factors related to travel
facilitation, which included managing and processing of visas, travel taxes, border formalities, customs
regulations and health regulations.

16.     The Meeting recognized that many issues faced by Governments and the tourism industry could
be addressed more effectively through cooperation. Regional and subregional cooperation could help to
conserve scarce resources, increase cultural and economic understanding and increase the frequency of
international contacts and exchanges. The Meeting requested the secretariat to continue to promote
regional and subregional cooperation in tourism development.


                                II. PROCEEDINGS OF THE MEETING

         A. Tourism trends and prospects worldwide and in the Asian and Pacific region:
                                 challenges and opportunities

17.     Mr Harsh Varma, Regional Representative for Asia and the Pacific, World Tourism
Organization, gave a presentation on challenges and opportunities in tourism trends and prospects
worldwide and in the Asian and Pacific region. He noted that tourism was now recognized as the fastest


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growing industry in the world and that the Asian and Pacific region was expected to be a major playing
field over the next 10 years. He reviewed recent trends and WTO projections for the future, based on the
quality and quantity factors that influenced the tourism sector and presented the opportunities and
challenges for Asia and the Pacific. He focused on prospects for changes in the basic determinants of
tourism which were social, technological, economic and political. After reviewing prospects in the major
market segments, Mr Varma pointed to five challenges faced by the tourism industry in the form of
competition, finance, technology, the environment and the quality of tourism attractions and services. In
conclusion, he presented WTO's eight-point strategy which might guide Asian and Pacific countries into
the next century.


            B. Strengthening national capabilities in tourism planning and promotion of
                          regional cooperation in tourism development:

                                 1. The economic impact of tourism

                                       (Item 4 (a) of the agenda)

18.      The Meeting considered document E/ESCAP/IMTD/1 entitled "Strengthening national
capabilities in tourism planning and promotion of regional cooperation in tourism development: the
economic impact of tourism".

19.      The Meeting stressed that there was a need for reliable, systematic research on tourism's
economic impact in view of the increasingly important role of tourism in the socio-economic
development of many Asian and Pacific countries and areas. The lack of research had made integrated
planning more difficult, resulting in weaker links between national economic policy-making and tourism
development.

20.      The Meeting was pleased to note that the ESCAP studies on the economic impact of tourism
showed clearly that tourism had contributed substantially to foreign exchange earnings, employment,
government revenue, and direct, indirect and induced income in a number of ESCAP member countries.
Representatives of several countries stated that the ESCAP studies had helped decision-makers to design
and implement policies that would enhance the economic benefits from tourism. The Meeting considered
that the input-output research technique was useful in giving a more complete picture of forward and
backward linkages, import and leakage effects, and distributive effects. It was pleased to note that an
economic model known as the "tourism satellite account" was being developed by WTO, which would
be useful for studying tourism as a horizontal sector that cut across standard national account
classifications.

21.      In view of the emphasis placed by several countries on the priority development of tourism, the
Meeting considered that future research should aim for comparability of results so that countries could
learn from each other's experiences about enhancing the economic benefits from tourism. It also noted
that innovative action at subregional and regional levels aimed at cooperation, information sharing, joint

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marketing and promotion could be organized according to the three general groupings of countries
suggested in document E/ESCAP/IMTD/1.

22.      The Meeting recommended that countries which had already undertaken studies on the
economic impact of tourism should continuously keep them updated to maintain their usefulness.
Countries which had not yet studied the economic impact of tourism should initiate such research. The
Meeting recommended that ESCAP should continue to assist countries in undertaking studies to
determine the economic impact of tourism. ESCAP assistance could be in the form of building national
capabilities for conducting studies and surveys, organizing regional or country-level seminars and
dispatching experts to assist countries in enhancing their capabilities to assess the economic and social
impact of tourism. ESCAP should closely collaborate with WTO in that area.

23.      The Meeting recognized that, for some countries in the region, more research was needed to
obtain systematic and up-to-date profiles of international tourists.      That would help to increase
understanding of recent trends in the international tourism market. It was important for marketing and
promotion to be based on a clear picture of the various types of tourists visiting each country, according
to demographic characteristics, length of stay, purpose of visit, type of accommodation, per capita
expenditure, patterns of expenditure and so forth.

24.      The Meeting took note of efforts by China, Bangladesh, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, the
Philippines, Sri Lanka and Thailand to formulate tourism policies based on research into the economic
impact of tourism. In several countries those efforts had resulted in tourism being given greater priority
once policy-makers could see that it was a significant part of integrated development planning. The
Philippines reported that its Department of Tourism used the multipliers from the ESCAP study to
consider tourism's overall contribution. India and Indonesia reported that such studies had helped to
promote research skills for officials who studied the economic benefits of tourism. Sri Lanka said that
the ESCAP study gave a clearer idea about minimizing leakages through import substitution. The
Meeting also noted with interest the initiatives of Viet Nam to develop tourism.

25.      Recognizing the important role of tourism in the socio-economic development of the Asian and
Pacific region, the Meeting stressed that tourism should be given high priority in the ESCAP
programme, and urged the secretariat to intensify tourism activities. In that connection, the Meeting
stressed the need for the secretariat to expand the professional regular staff resources for tourism
activities. It recommended that the name of the Committee on Transport and Communications should be
changed to "Committee on Transport, Communications, Tourism and Infrastructure Development",
subject to the outcome of the general review of the subsidiary structure of the Commission to be
undertaken in 1997. Noting that tourism was presently part of the subprogramme "Transport and
Communications", the Meeting stressed that tourism should be included in the title of the subprogramme
in the future ESCAP programme in view of the greatly expanded scope of the secretariat's tourism
activities.




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26.     The Meeting noted with appreciation the technical assistance being provided by WTO to a
number of countries in Asia and the Pacific.

                       2. Environmental management of tourism development

                                         (Item 4 (b) of the agenda)

27.     The Meeting had before it document E/ESCAP/IMTD/2 entitled "Strengthening national
capabilities in tourism planning and promotion of regional cooperation in tourism development:
environmental management of tourism development".

28.     The Meeting considered that the rapid growth of tourism challenged not only the ecology of
tourist destinations, but also the effectiveness and efficiency of the Government's role in environmental
management of tourism development. It was considered more important than ever to find ways to
integrate environmental management with tourism development. Several countries noted that the efforts
of ESCAP in the area of environmental management in coastal areas had helped their governments to
focus greater attention on environmental matters. A number of countries expressed a willingness to
share experiences and information about their policies and practices, as well as to exchange experts,
particularly in the area of managing tourism development in coastal and marine environments. The
Meeting addressed the issue of sustainability in terms of balancing tourism development with the
preservation of the environment and indigenous culture. It noted the view expressed by the UNESCO
representative that tourism might be considered a powerful tool for the long-term conservation of a
society's culture and its environment.

29.     At the national level, the Meeting emphasized (a) the need to give more attention to planning,
coordination and monitoring by government agencies, (b) the need for the involvement of local
communities, and (c) the need to create awareness in the mass media, with the general public and with
international tourists, about protecting and preserving the environment if tourism was to be sustained.

30.     At the regional level, the Meeting considered that, subject to resource availability, seminars and
workshops could be organized by ESCAP and WTO to facilitate: (a) the sharing of experiences on
developing ecotourism; (b) the promotion of technical cooperation among countries by exchanging visits
of experts in the environmental management of tourism development; and (c) the sharing of information
between countries that had developed environmental management more extensively and countries which
had requested assistance in that area of tourism development.


               3. Infrastructure development and investment for the tourism sector

                                         (Item 4 (c) of the agenda)

31.     The Meeting considered document E/ESCAP/IMTD/3 entitled "Strengthening national
capabilities in tourism planning and promotion of regional cooperation in tourism development:
infrastructure development and investment for the tourism sector".

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32.     The Meeting recognized the close and dynamic relationship between infrastructure and tourism
development, and expressed concern that inadequate infrastructure in many ESCAP member countries
was one of the most serious constraints to future tourism development. The other competing demands
for public sector resources, including those for the social sectors such as education and health, and the
capital-intensive nature of tourism investment, meant that the private sector could become increasingly
involved in infrastructure development. However, in order to attract private sector participation,
governments had to address such issues as creating a conducive environment, providing investment
incentives, introducing adequate and supporting legislation, and building public sector capability for the
formulation and prioritization of projects and negotiations. The Republic of Korea and Macau informed
the Meeting about some infrastructure impediments that they had to overcome in order to promote
tourism development. Some solutions included liberalization of rules and regulations, tax incentives and
creating a favourable environment for foreign investment.

33.     The Meeting took note of the approaches to investment in tourism infrastructure and public-
private sector relationships in China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, the
Philippines, Sri Lanka and Thailand. Most countries developed policies and regulations based on their
particular national economic development strategies.        Several countries emphasized the need for
integrated planning or master plans with a clear indication that the government would play the role of
facilitator to encourage investment from the private sector. It was stressed that tourism planning should
be integrated and coordinated with planning of other infrastructure agencies, especially transportation
and other basic services.

34.     The Meeting recommended that training was needed through workshops at both the national and
the regional levels to build capabilities among government officials in the areas of formulation and
prioritization of projects, as well as in drafting and negotiating contract documents for the public and
private sector partnership for investment in tourism and related infrastructure development.

35.     In recognition of the importance of infrastructure development and investment in the tourism
sector and, since it was a new area of focus for the secretariat, the Meeting recommended that ESCAP
should strengthen its activities in that area. It was further recommended that ESCAP should organize
regional seminars and workshops to study the relationship between tourism planning and tourism
financing and investment with a view to sharing experiences among countries at different stages of
tourism development. It was also recommended that ESCAP should organize a regional-level seminar
involving policy-makers, investors, national tourist organizations and other government agencies in the
light of the recommendations emerging from the Ministerial Conference on Infrastructure, held at New
Delhi in October 1996, to consider the role of the government and the private sector in possible public-
private partnerships for tourism infrastructure development.




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                          4. Human resources development in the tourism sector

                                               (Item 4 (d) of the agenda)

36.      The Meeting had before it document E/ESCAP/IMTD/4 entitled "Strengthening national
capabilities in tourism planning and promotion of regional cooperation in tourism development: human
resources development in the tourism sector".

37.      The Meeting recognized that the need to develop the required human resources for the tourism
industry had become imperative as a consequence of the rapid growth of tourism. In addition, it was
recognized that both the quantity and the quality of human resources in the tourism sector were
important considerations for all ESCAP member countries. As tourism was a service and labour-
intensive industry, it required a high standard of specialized skills in a cross-cultural working
environment.

38.      The Meeting identified four main issues related to human resources development in the tourism
sector of the Asian and Pacific region which needed attention. The first issue was the lack of strategies
and policies for human resources development in the tourism sector. The second issue was the shortage
of tourism training facilities and qualified trainers. The third issue was the working conditions in the
tourism sector and how national legislation and guidelines could be strengthened. The fourth issue was
the shortage of manpower at all levels, with the related problems of untrained or under-trained staff and
high rates of employee turnover.

39.      The Meeting stressed the need for governments to formulate a national tourism training strategy.
The key thrust of the strategy would be to assess present and future training requirements, to increase
the industry’s commitment to training and to establish a structured training system. The strategy could
be developed by a national tourism training committee consisting of representatives from the
government, training institutes and the tourism industry. The Meeting stressed the importance of
strengthening the linkages between educational/tourism training institutes and the industry so that the
industry requirements would be fully understood and reflected in the development of curricula. That
would also strengthen relationships with the private sector involved in the tourism industry, which would
facilitate use of their training facilities.

40.      The Meeting strongly supported the secretariat’s initiatives to establish a regional networking of
tourism training institutes and organizations in the Asian and Pacific region. It took note of the general
consensus emerging as a result of a questionnaire survey conducted by the secretariat and welcomed the
secretariat’s plan to organize a follow-up meeting to be held in the Islamic Republic of Iran in May 1997
to establish the network and to consider the scope and modalities of its operation. The Meeting
recommended that, at its initial stage, the network should aim at promoting a sharing of experiences and
expertise.      Other activities such as joint research or formulating a regional human resources
development strategy could be taken up later. It also recommended that the secretariat should prepare an
inventory of tourism training institutes covering information such as course outlines, curriculum and the

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expertise available. It was agreed that governments had the option to nominate additional tourism
training institutes and organizations in any area of tourism to be members of the network. Based on that
information, and the needs of member countries, matchmaking between countries which could offer
training facilities and countries which needed such facilities could take place for follow-up action. A
programme for training in tourism planning and marketing and exchange of expertise in those areas
needed to be taken up.

41.     The Meeting recommended action at the national and regional levels with regard to human
resources development in the tourism sector, as follows:

        (a)    At the national level: action should focus on (i) the preparation of a national human
resources development strategy and (ii) the establishment of a national committee or council for tourism
education and training in order to achieve the best possible coordination among different agencies;

        (b)    At the regional level: action should focus on the establishment of a regional network for
tourism training institutes and organizations and undertake a specific set of activities that involved; (i)
promoting sharing of experiences; (ii) training of trainers; (iii) advisory services and exchange of
faculties; (iv) creating a database; (v) publishing a newsletter and bulletin; (vi) organizing meetings of
the network at certain intervals.

42.     The Meeting noted with interest the initiatives of several countries related to human resources
development. Sri Lanka would establish a hotel and tourism training institute in Colombo by upgrading
the existing Ceylon Hotel School.        Thailand planned to upgrade the Hotel and Tourism Training
Institute in Bang Saen to become a national human resources development and research centre on
tourism. The Philippines and Macau had established mechanisms to coordinate training between the
Government, training institutes and the tourism industry.


                  5. Facilitation of travel for the expansion of intraregional tourism

                                         (Item 4 (e) of the agenda)

43.     The Meeting considered document E/ESCAP/IMTD/5 entitled "Strengthening national
capabilities in tourism planning and promotion of regional cooperation in tourism development:
facilitation of travel for the expansion of intraregional tourism".

44.     The Meeting recognized the importance for tourism development of factors related to travel
facilitation, which included managing and processing of visas, travel taxes, border formalities, customs
regulations and health regulations. In view of the growing number of affluent people with leisure time
and an interest to travel within the region, the Meeting observed that a trend had started which pointed to
additional growth in the future, although patterns varied somewhat in the different subregions.




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45.     Representatives of China, Indonesia and Malaysia reported on the initiatives that they had taken
to eliminate certain barriers that would facilitate their international and intraregional tourism to a greater
extent. Thailand reported on its policies for liberalizing aviation, expanding airport facilities and relaxing
some regulations with the aim of promoting intraregional tourism. Maldives reported that it had no visa
requirements for tourists, and everyone received a visa on arrival without filling in any forms. Sri Lanka
informed the Meeting that the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation had taken initiatives to
facilitate intraregional travel among member countries.

46.     The Meeting noted the statement of the representative of ICAO outlining its facilitation
programme built up over the years with respect to international air transport and its initiative to introduce
machine-readable passports, passport cards and other travel documents.

47.     The Meeting observed that facilitation of travel for the expansion of intraregional tourism was a
relatively new area for the secretariat and expressed support for the secretariat's initiatives in that area,
including plans for a regional seminar on the facilitation of travel in the Asian region scheduled for 1997.


                            6. Regional/subregional promotion of tourism

                                         (Item 4 (f) of the agenda)

48.     The Meeting considered three documents: E/ESCAP/IMTD/6 entitled "Strengthening national
capabilities in tourism planning and promotion of regional cooperation in tourism development:
regional/subregional promotion of tourism: promotion of tourism in Pacific island countries";
E/ESCAP/IMTD/7 entitled "Strengthening national capabilities in tourism planning and promotion of
regional cooperation in tourism development: regional/subregional promotion of tourism: promotion of
tourism in the Greater Mekong subregion"; and E/ESCAP/IMTD/8 entitled "Strengthening national
capabilities in tourism planning and promotion of regional cooperation in tourism development:
regional/subregional promotion of tourism: promotion of tourism along the Asian Highway".

49.     The Meeting recognized the advantages and the importance of regional and subregional
cooperation as that enabled countries to share experiences, learn from each other, share facilities and
reduce unnecessary competition.

50.     The Meeting welcomed the focus on integrated tourism planning in the Pacific island context
and the related activities of the secretariat, which included workshops, seminars, studies and guidelines.
The secretariat's publications, ESCAP Tourism Review and ESCAP Tourism Newsletter, reporting on
activities undertaken for the Pacific island countries, provided useful information and should continue.
The Meeting took note of China's request to learn more about approaches involving island economies as
that could help China to promote tourism development for its islands.




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51.     The Meeting took note of the activities undertaken by PATA in the context of subregional
cooperation among Pacific island countries as well as the Greater Mekong subregion. The Meeting also
noted with appreciation the presentation on the organization and activities of TCSP. The cooperation
between TCSP and ESCAP was considered to be an important effort at strengthening national
capabilities and promoting subregional cooperation in the South Pacific. The Meeting appreciated the
special attention which the secretariat gave to strengthening national capabilities in integrated tourism
planning and promotion of tourism investment in the South Pacific island countries.

52.     The Meeting remarked on the promising growth prospects for tourism in the Greater Mekong
subregion in view of the remarkable level of cooperation being achieved by the Working Group on the
Greater Mekong Subregion Tourism Sector which was established by the joint efforts of ESCAP and
ADB. The Meeting was pleased to note that ESCAP, ADB, PATA, WTO, UNESCO and the Mekong
River Commission had been working with the six government tourism organizations and the Working
Group in a coordinated manner to promote tourism in the subregion. The Meeting took special note and
expressed appreciation for the collaboration between ESCAP and ADB on eight priority tourism projects
for the Greater Mekong subregion. The Meeting noted with appreciation that the Tourism Authority of
Thailand had been designated as the secretariat for Greater Mekong subregion tourism development, to
coordinate and monitor the implementation of various projects. It also noted that PATA would provide
some human resources to the secretariat.

53.     The Meeting noted the suggestion of the representative of China that "Lancang/Mekong
subregional tourism development" would be a more comprehensive name, since the upper part of the
river in China was known as Lancang. The secretariat explained that, for marketing purposes, the
Meeting of Ministers of the Greater Mekong Subregion felt that Mekong was more well-known
worldwide, and therefore decided to use that name. However, the name Lancang/Mekong was being
used in formulating and implementing specific projects.

54.     The Meeting took note of the suggestion that ESCAP should extend cooperation to tourism
activities of ASEAN and the growth triangle involving Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand.

55.     The Meeting commended the work of the secretariat concerning the Asian Highway to promote
land transport linkage between Asia and Europe, thereby creating new potential for tourism. The
Meeting stressed that promoting tourism along the Asian Highway could strengthen regional cooperation
and overcome possible national constraints to transport and tourism infrastructure development.

56.     With reference to paragraphs 44 and 45 of document E/ESCAP/IMTD/8, the Meeting took note
of the reservation expressed by the delegation of India which had been reflected in the secretariat's study
entitled Asian Highway Network Development (ST/ESCAP/1442) published in 1995.




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57.     The Meeting noted the interest of China to promote tourism along the Asian Highway. In that
context, it could expedite the return of the Asian Highway questionnaire, once the secretariat provided it
with the corrected map, as requested. The secretariat would address that matter on an urgent basis.

58.     The Meeting agreed that infrastructure conditions could be considered one of the main problems
impeding access for tourism purposes. The Meeting acknowledged the observation by UNESCO that
many "Jewels along the Asian Highway" had already been identified as UNESCO Heritage Sites, which
meant that attention should be given to the environmental and cultural impact of the proposals of using
the Asian Highway for increased tourism promotion. In that context, ESCAP invited UNESCO to
cooperate in planning for integrated sustainable tourism development and heritage conservation.

59.     The Meeting was pleased to learn about the activities of EATA in terms of its emphasis on
marketing and promotion and its new strategic direction aimed at promoting intraregional travel among
its members.

60.     The Meeting noted that there were many more tourist attractions along the Asian Highway in
most countries but, as the advice from the secretariat was to identify only five major attractions, the
countries submitted information accordingly. The Meeting also observed that there were a number of
tourism-related activities being undertaken by Bangladesh and Uzbekistan with reference to the Asian
Highway. Uzbekistan was also undertaking tourism initiatives related to the Silk Road, parts of which
were also included in the Asian Highway, and general development of tourism infrastructure in the
country. The Russian Federation also reported on its tourism promotion activities and related foreign
investment. The Meeting noted that the Philippines supported promotion of tourism along the Asian
Highway and stressed the importance of considering intermodal transportation as part of regional
cooperation along the highway.

                                      C. Adoption of the report

                                         (Item 6 of the agenda)

61.     The Meeting adopted its report on 13 December 1996.


                            III. ORGANIZATION OF THE MEETING

                                              A. Opening

62.     The Intergovernmental Meeting on Tourism Development was held in Bangkok from 11 to 13
December 1996. The opening statement of the Executive Secretary of ESCAP was delivered by the
Director, Transport, Communications and Tourism Division, ESCAP. The Meeting was inaugurated by
Mr Pradech Phayakvichien, Acting Governor, Tourism Authority of Thailand.

63.     In his opening statement, the Executive Secretary of ESCAP remarked that tourism had been
expanding rapidly and had assumed considerable importance for economic and social development


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worldwide during the past decade. Growth in tourism had been especially fast in Asia and the Pacific,
with certain subregions experiencing some of the highest tourism growth rates in the world. The
economic impact and importance of tourism had been clearly recognized, and there was a greater
understanding of the dynamic, multi-faceted linkages that the tourism industry had with the environment
and sustainable development; infrastructure and investment; development of human resources;
expansion of intraregional tourism by facilitating travel; and cooperation at regional and subregional
levels.

64.       He pointed to the need for thorough discussions and clear understanding of the emerging issues
and opportunities in order to strengthen national capacities. That would ensure that tourism continued to
develop in ways that maximized socio-economic benefits, sustained the environment and minimized
adverse impacts. He said that strengthening national capacities in almost all issue areas of tourism
development would involve the government, the private sector and local communities who would be
working together as tourism developed into a more dynamic and complex service industry. The issues
related to tourism development needed to be carefully considered in ways that allowed for sustainable
tourism development and greater regional cooperation.

65.       The Executive Secretary expressed gratitude to the Government of Thailand for the cooperation
and assistance extended to the Meeting by the Tourism Authority of Thailand. He also expressed
appreciation to the Government of Japan for continuously financing ESCAP tourism projects and
providing tourism experts on a non-reimbursable loan basis, and to the Governments of China, the
Netherlands and the Republic of Korea for financing some important tourism activities.

66.       In his inaugural address, Mr Pradech Phayakvichien, Acting Governor, Tourism Authority of
Thailand, stated that tourism had already been playing an important role in socio-economic development
throughout Asia and the Pacific and was expected to become increasingly important and to grow faster
over the next decade. In order for Asian and Pacific countries to accomplish their goals for tourism
development, it was important to establish the region as a trendsetter through cooperation and
innovation. He observed that ESCAP had been doing its utmost to help countries to strengthen their
capabilities and to promote regional cooperation in tourism development.

67.       The Meeting would be making important recommendations to address the problems and issues
faced by all countries in the region. Among the issue on the agenda, he highlighted Thailand's emphasis
on human resources development in the tourism sector with tourism training institutes that could train
about 10,000 people a year at all levels. He also emphasized environmental management of tourism
development in coastal areas, and infrastructure and investment for the tourism sector. The Tourism
Authority of Thailand had integrated tourism policies into the eighth National Economic and Social
Development Plan, and that should facilitate tourism development in the future.




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                                              B. Attendance

68.     The session was attended by representatives of the following members and associate members of
ESCAP: Bangladesh, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Islamic Republic of Iran, Japan, Kyrgyzstan,
Malaysia, Macau, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, Sri
Lanka, Thailand, Uzbekistan and Viet Nam.

69.     Representatives of the following United Nations bodies and specialized agencies also attended:
ICAO, UNDP, UNESCO, WHO and WTO. The following organizations also attended: EATA, the
Mekong River Commission, PATA and TCSP.


                                          C. Election of officers

70.     The Meeting elected the following officers: Chairperson, Mr Mohamed Saeed, Deputy Minister
of Tourism, Maldives; Vice-Chairpersons, Mr Pradech Phayakvichien, Acting Governor, Tourism
Authority of Thailand, Mr Vu Tuan Canh, Vice-Chairman, Vietnam National Administration of Tourism
and Mrs Bimla Mitter, Principal Assistant Secretary, Tourism Division, Ministry of Culture, Arts and
Tourism, Malaysia; and Rapporteur, Mr M.N.L. Lantra, Director/Research and International Affairs,
Ceylon Tourist Board, Sri Lanka.

                                                D. Agenda

71.     The Meeting adopted the following agenda:

1.Opening of the Meeting.
2.Election of officers.
3.Adoption of the agenda.
4.Strengthening national capabilities in tourism planning and promotion of regional cooperation in
              tourism development:

(a)The economic impact of tourism;
(b)Environmental management of tourism development;
(c)Infrastructure development and investment for the tourism sector;
(d)Human resources development in the tourism sector;
(e)Facilitation of travel for the expansion of intraregional tourism;
(f)Regional/subregional promotion of tourism.

5.Other matters.

6.Adoption of the report.




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