The APEC virtual workshop has been successfully delivered

2022-07-23 19:54:00       Size:[L  M  S]

The virtual workshop titled "Usage of digital tools by tourism MSMEs and individuals in APEC region: Attempts, practice and experience", jointly organized and held by the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and the China Tourism Academy from July 19 to 22, 2022.

This workshop is one of the main research outputs of the APEC project "How do MSMEs and individuals in travel and tourism sector survive and recover from the COVID-19: The opportunities from digital tools". This project is the first tourism project officially funded by AEPC in China. The purposes of the workshop are to 1) provide a platform for the exchange and dissemination of knowledge in the usage of digital tools for tourism MSMEs and individuals in the APEC region, 2) share the practical experience in accelerating the tourism digital transformation in various economies, and 3) provide training courses for tourism MSMEs and individuals for a better usage of digital tools in the APEC region.

The workshop was hosted by Dr. Liu Xiangyan of China Tourism Academy. During the opening ceremony, Ms. Wang Yanjie, head of department of multilateral affairs, Ministry of Culture and Tourism, China, delivered a welcome speech. Wang Yanjie pointed out that under the continuous influence of COVID-19, consumer behaviors are changing and the world economic development is facing many disruptive factors. With its strong development toughness and innovation ability, the digital economy is becoming an important engine for the world economic recovery. At present, the pandemic is still raging around the world, which further forces the tourism industry to carry out digital transformation. She expressed the hope that participants can share knowledge and exchange experiences on the usage of digital tools for MSMEs and individuals in the tourism sector, which could be conducive to the sustainable development of tourism in the APEC region.

The first two sessions of the workshop focused on "Usage of digital tools by tourism MSMEs: Practice and experience" and "Usage of digital tools by individuals: Practice and experience". The heads/representatives of travel agencies such as HiChina travel, Singapore Tribe Tours, Lost Plate, Indonesia Duta visa Jaya, and tour guides such as Mr. Dou Junjie (David), Ms. Wu Qiaoling (Gloria), Mr. He zhiyong, and Ms. Zhang Juan shared their practice and experience in the application of digital tools. The principals and representatives of platform enterprises, including Sanyue Technology, Aoyoutaiyi of China Youth Travel Service, and Cloud Travel Technology introduced their supporting practice for tourism MSMEs and individuals with digital platforms or programs such as Yin-Lian-Yong platform, China Tourism Chain and Sharing Good Tour Guides Program. These platforms and programs are to accelerate the digital transformation of tourism MSMEs and individuals.

In the third session of the workshop, "Policies supporting tourism digitalization", associate professor Mr. Xi Yubin of Shanghai Business School delivered the speech with summarizing and categorizing the relevant policies, projects and programs to accelerate tourism digitalization by all APEC member economies. Official representatives from Hangzhou Municipal Bureau of Culture, Radio, TV and Tourism of China, Hong Kong Tourism Board, China, Ministry of Foreign Trade and Tourism of Peru, and Federal Agency for Tourism of The Russian Federation participated in the case sharing session. They briefly introduced their respective policies and measures taken by the governments to accelerate the tourism digital transformation. In the last session of the workshop, two training classes were delivered by Mr. Tudor Marian of Google Company and Ms. Wang Xuanjing of LETSLOCALS. They provided professional and targeted training and guidance on how to make better use of digital tools for tourism MSMEs and individual practitioners.

At the closing session of the workshop, Professor Dai bin, President of the China Tourism Academy, extended warm congratulations on the successful completion of the workshop. He pointed out that today's tourism industry has irreversibly entered the modernization process driven by digitalization. The question that must be seriously answered is how to get tourism MSMEs and individuals more engaged in the digital economy and promote smart tourism with advanced technologies, such as 5G network, mobile communications, big data, AI, blockchain and metaverse, etc. and then to ensure the high-quality development of tourism industry. He hoped that the tourism authorities and industry associations and organizations from APEC member economies would leverage the workshop results to promote the digital transformation of tourism MSMEs and individuals. Finally, he said that the China Tourism Academy would continue to maintain close communication with the APEC Secretariat and the Tourism Working Group, keep in touch with all participants in a timely manner, and continue to track the innovative practices by tourism MSMEs and individuals, so as to provide more supports for the tourism resumption and prosperity both in China and around the world.

All in all, during the four half-day workshop, participants from APEC economies fully expressed their views, including the practice and experience sharing by representatives from tourism MSMEs and individuals practitioners in the usage of digital tools, the digital technology and policy support provided by platform enterprises and government officials, and the two training classes for tourism MSMEs and individuals to better use digital tools. These knowledge sharing and experience exchange on the usage of digital tools will shed some lights for the tourism digital transformation in APEC region, and promote the recovery and sustainable development in APEC region in the near future.

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