Next week many of the main players in China’s outbound tourism business will meet at the GLOBAL TOURISM ECONOMY FORUM (GTEF) 2018 in the Special Administrative Region Macau. Since its inauguration in 2012, the GTEF has grown into a much anticipated annual gathering for world leaders, tourism ministers, international CEOs and leading industry experts. With a focus as always on China, this year the EU-China Tourism Year 2018 as well as the new pet project of the “Greater Bay Area”, which refers to the Chinese government’s scheme to link the cities of Hong Kong, Macau, Guangzhou, and Shenzhen as well as the lesser-known but nevertheless major cities of Zhuhai, Foshan, Zhongshan, Dongguan, Huizhou, Jiangmen and Zhaoqing into an integrated economic and business hub. The eleven cities are home to almost 70 million people and the whole region of 56,000 sq km generated last year a regional GDP of about 1.6 trillion USD, which makes it equivalent to the fifth-biggest economy in Asia, even though the area of 56,000 sq km is smaller than Sri Lanka or six times smaller than Japan or Germany.
The European Union will be the official partner of GTEF 2018 as part of the 2018 EU-China Tourism Year activities. The two-day programme on 23-24 October of keynotes and panel sessions, bilateral meetings, business matching, exhibitions, workshops and cultural activities will be used to, according to the organisers, to “drive high-level dialogues on increasing tourism flows between China and Europe, enhance EU countries’ understanding of Chinese visitors when traveling in Europe, and to strengthen cooperation between the Chinese and EU authorities in the field of tourism and its related economy”. In addition, GTEF 2018 will present Guangdong Province as a Featured Partner Chinese Province, highlighting the Greater Bay Area, which for the bigger part is located in Guangdong.
COTRI will participate in GTEF 2018, with your humble editor having the honour to be invited to the WTTC Asia Leader Forum and to represent the WTCF World Tourism Cities Federation as member of its experts committee in a panel discussion about the impact traditional cultural festivals have on the development and growth of the tourism economy of cities. Questions like What role do traditional cultural festivals play in a city? How is a city’s cultural identity manifested in these festivals? What systems have been put in place to ensure economic growth is not achieved at the expense of the wellbeing of the local communities? How do city leaders strike the balance between keeping traditional cultural festivals alive while creating new cultural events? will hopefully all been answered.
Furthermore, Dr. Minjuan Deng-Westphal, Head of Research of COTRI, will chair the Partnerships in European Tourism Conference, which is organised by ETOA, ECTAA and ETC in Macau this year in partnership with GTEF.
Both Dr. Deng-Westphal and myself look forward to meet many of the readers of COTRI Weekly at the GTEF 2018 in Macau!
Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Georg Arlt and the COTRI Weekly Team