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First WTTC Asian Summit Highlights Region’s Leadership in Global Tourism

October 5, 2013 MICE No Comments Email Email

Seoul was the venue for high-level talks discussing the impact of Asia’s rapid growth as a travel destination last month, when the city hosted the inaugural World Travel & Tourism Council Asia Summit.

Held over September 10-11 at the Lotte Hotel Seoul, the meeting focused upon the region’s new status as a key driver of tourism and its impact on local economies.

The Asia Summit was attended by travel and tourism chief executives, government representatives and international media from around the world. Under the theme of ‘Staying Ahead of Tomorrow’, the meeting explored Asia’s global lead in IT development and looked at ways of boosting economic growth and sustainable development through tourism in the region.

There were a total of 7 sessions across the two-day event, with Session 3 devoted to “Korea – Huge Potential, Innovative Ideas”, looking at the way in which Korea’s travel and tourism economy grew faster than any other Asia-Pacific nation in 2012 – a 10.4% growth according to official government statistics.

“It is no accident that we are here today for our first Asia summit,” said WTTC president David Scowsill during the September 10 opening ceremony. “Of the 70 million new jobs tourism will stimulate globally by 2023, two thirds – some 47 million – will be in Asia.”

Keynote speaker for the summit, former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, notably emphasized the need for traditionally-dominant tourism economies to acknowledge the rise of Asia-Pacific influence, saying, “The West is going to have to discover a new partnership with the East.”

Opening speeches for the summit were delivered by South Korean Prime Minister Chung Hong-won and Chairman of Lotte Group Shin Dong-Bin, with Lotte heavily involved in the planning and organizing of the meeting. Other speakers included Doug Carlson, President and CEO of Carlson Wagonlift Travel, Thea Chiesa, Director of the World Economic Forum, and Angela Gittens, Director of ACI World.

Delegates also had the chance to explore some of the local culture that has made Seoul a popular meeting destination, thanks to a special gala evening hosted by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and its department head, Yoo Jinryong. The event, attended by 500 delegates and invited guests, was held outdoors at the National Museum of Korea, which in previous years has hosted functions for the 2010 Seoul G20 Summit and 2012 Seoul Nuclear Security Summit. The evening also included a hanbok (traditional Korean clothing) fashion show, a K-pop performance, and a taekwondo demonstration.

 The Seoul Convention Bureau was pleased be a sponsor of the first WTTC Asian Summit. Providing a wide range of services and support for international events in Seoul, SCB assistance for the summit also included the issuing of the Seoul Welcome Kit and copies of the ‘Seoul Book of Everything’ travel guide to all attendees, as well as promotion of the summit on digital displays at Incheon International Airport. On-site assistance was provided by the bureau’s Seoul Convention Supporters, a pool of students taking business events-and-related studies at local universities. Supporters receive training throughout the year by the SCB in event operations management.

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