Rebuilding and Boosting Tourism Industry with Digitalization Closing Remarks for APEC Virtual Workshop

2022-07-22 14:58:00       Size:[L  M  S]


Rebuilding and Boosting Tourism Industry with Digitalization Closing Remarks for APEC Virtual Workshop

---Usage of Digital Tools by Tourism MSMEs and Individualsin APEC Region: Attempts, Practice and Experience

22 July 2022, Beijing

Dai Bin, President of China Tourism Academy (CTA)

   

Ladies and gentlemen:

           
Over the past four days, with presentations, keynote speeches, and exchanges, we have discussed about and shared opinions on “Usage of Digital Tools by tourism MSMEs and Individuals ”. Organized by APEC and CTA, all the sessions have been successfully completed, and now we’re coming to the closure of this workshop.

          
On behalf of CTA and co-organizers, I’d like to extend my sincerest gratitude to the joint efforts of all the speakers, trainers, participants, and representatives. All your wonderful speeches, professional sharing and active participation have contributed to exchanges and cooperation among APEC member economies, and provided tourism MSMEs and individuals with pioneering ideas and guiding cases, and more importantly, revived confidence and momentum in the tourism industry.

         
During this workshop, the chairpersons from tourism MSMEs and digital platforms, individuals, experts and scholars from APEC member economies shared with us their successful experience on how to use digital tools and technology to cope with the impacts of COVID-19. Mr. Dmitry Peternev(Advisor of the head of the Federal Agency for Tourism, The Russian Federation), Mr. Victor Freundt (Industrial Designer, Direction of Innovation in Touristic Offer, Ministry of Foreign Trade and Tourism of Peru), and Mr. Dane Cheng (Executive Director, Hong Kong Tourism Board, China) have introduced the actions taken to drive tourism digital transformation,and the accomplishments and experience in their economies. Their invaluable experience will help APEC member economies, including China, accelerate digital transformation and modernization in tourism industry. Mr. Tudor Marian (Principal Account Manager, APAC Travel of Google) and Ms. Wang Xuanjing (Manager, Social Media Marketing Department of LETS) have respectively provided training and guidance on digital tools usage skills for tourism MSMEs and individuals to be better engaged into the digital economy. Without any doubt, all these timely shares, like a cool rain in this hot summer, are beneficial for the recovery of tourism.

          
I would like to extend our highest respect to the joint efforts of APEC Secretariat, TWG (Tourism Working Group) and the Bureau of International Exchange and Cooperation of MCT (Ministry of Culture and Tourism of the People’s Republic of China). In November, 2021, the project How do MSMEs and individuals in travel and tourism sector survive and recover from the COVID-19: The opportunities from digital tools was approved by APEC with Fund from General Project Account (GPA). It is the first APEC founded project in tourism field in China. During the implementation of this Project, we greatly appreciate the support from authorities and leaders, particularly the Project Director Ms. Danisse Hurtado Morales, and the Project Executive Ms. Dwi Prameswari from APEC Secretariat, the Deputy Director, Mr. Feng Litao, and the director of the Department of Multilateral Affairs, Ms. Wang Yanjie from the Bureau of International Exchange and Cooperation of MCT, China. Thanks to you all for the support for this successful holding of this workshop and the future work.

         
My sincere thanks and congratulations also go to my colleague Dr. Liu Xiangyan and her research team, all the tourism enterprises engaged and the persons supporting this workshop implementation from China. Without your unwavering efforts, shared trust, great enthusiasm, dedicated work and cooperation, the research and workshop holding would not have been possible. Your insights on tourism digitalization and confidence in rebuilding tourism have left a lasting impression on me. Talents are our most valuable resource at any time. With such a talented team, I am deeply confident that we will overcome difficulties and challenges in front of us and rebuild a prosperous tourism industry in the future.

           
Ladies and Gentlemen,

           
Nowadays, the tourism industry must irreversibly embrace digital transformation for the modernized development. The question we must seriously answer is how to get tourism MSMEs and individuals more engaged into the digital economy, to develop mass tourism for the people 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.

            
Hopefully, the workshop results can be leveraged by tourism authorities and industry associations and organizations from APEC member economies, thus improving the digital transformation of tourism MSMEs and individuals. Digitalization is neither an abstract concept in the book nor the mere simulation technology that can be applied nowhere but in the lab. It is closely related to the long-term viability and driving force of tourism development. It should be emphasized by the governments and industrial organizations that after the COVID-19 pandemic, the tourism industry can not maintain the same situation as the past. has never been the same after the COVID-19 pandemic. The tourism business model that mainly relies on the number of tourist visits and revenues form tickets sales is no longer feasible. The traditional definition of tourism as a labor-intensive and experience-driving industry is no longer suitable in the new era dominated by culture, technology, entrepreneurship and innovation.

            
I hope education and research institutions, tourism media and opinion leaders from APEC member economies are willing to refer to and share the workshop results. Together we can lay a wider foundation for the digital transformation of tourism MSMEs with social acknowledgement. Compared to experience and traditions, it’s much harder to explore and foster innovation and creative ideas. The vitality and resilience of tourism MSMEs is of vital importance in supporting the tourism industry in the whole world, including China. We can enhance the digital awareness of MSMEs, self-employed, freelancers, floating employees, boost their confidence in digital development and share valuable experience in digital transformation through the collaboration with research institutions, universities and vocational colleges, training institutions, industry media and Internet platforms. In this process, worldwide knowledge sharing and collaboration are highly indispensable.

            
I also hope the research team, with involved public and private sectors will provide high-quality research results, and issue-oriented, practical and professional solutions for tourism MSMEs and individuals in the APEC region. President Xi Jinping urged China’s sci-tech professionals to write papers on the basis of practical studies and apply scientific and technological achievements to modernized development. Tousim MSMEs and individuals, including thousands of travel agencies, OTAs, homestays, shared accommodations, travel retail and leisure &entertainment should be capable of warding off potential risk through technological, market and product innovations. We should make every effort make them benefited, tackle their difficulties, respond to their concerns and provide practical support. In the time of COVID-19, think tanks and research institutions could contribute to the digital transformation of tourism MSMEs to enhance their competitiveness in both domestic and international markets.

     

Ladies and Gentlemen,

              
The international tourism is recovering from the impacts of COVID-19. China is also entering a new stage of coordinating epidemic prevention and control and resumption of work and business. Given the number of reopening international flights and new policies of visa, immigrants and port entry, positive expectations could be surely placed upon the outbound and inbound tourism market of China. The closure of the workshop is not the end of the research project; instead it is truly a new start for global exchanges and cooperation in tourism sector, particularly concerning the tourism digital transformation. CTA will continue to keep close communications with APEC Secretariat, TWG (Tourism Working Group) and the participants. We’ll keep tracking innovative practice by tourism MSMEs and individuals, and provide support for tourism resumption and prosperity in China and around the world.

          
Thank you.

     

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