The 9th UNWTO/PATA Forum on Tourism Trends and Outlook held at the Shangri-La Hotel in Guilin, China successfully ended on October 21, 2015. The two-day conference, under the theme “Tourism and the Experience Economy” was organised by the People’s Government of Guilin of China, the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) in collaboration with The Hong Kong Polytechnic University.
The forum has been successfully held eight times previously in Guilin, providing an annual Pan-Asia-Pacific platform for policy makers, senior officials, researchers and industry representatives to take stock of global and regional trends and to better understand their potential impacts on tourism development.
This year’s event covered many subjects reflecting the international trends of tourism as an experience economy, including such topics as social responsibility, theory and practices, heritage and culture, as well as virtual and augmented reality. The international line-up of speakers were varied and came from such organisations as Amadeus, Spain; TripAdvisor; Korea Tourism Organization, Korea (ROK); Ministry of Tourism, Cambodia; MyTravelResearch.com, Australia; TCI Research, Belgium; Thammasat University, Thailand; Triip.me, Vietnam; Local Alike, Thailand; Japan Tourism Marketing Co., Japan; Sun Yatsen University, China;; Kairos and Drore Information and Technology, China, to name a few.
In his closing remarks, PATA Regional Director – China, Bo Wu, noted, “China and its tourism and travel industry is at a special stage. I define it as a stage of transformations. First, transformation from an old model of economy of visitations and sightseeing to an economy of leisure travel and holidays. Secondly, a transformation from traditional ways of operation to a tourism plus Internet as the main tone of the economy of this nation is being set by the internet plus. Lastly, a transformation of lining all possible resources to cope with China’s national policy of “One Road and One Belt”.
Next year marks the 10-year anniversary of the UNWTO/PATA Forum on Tourism Trends and Outlook. Over the past decade, the event has grown from a small initiative to a vital tourism forum, attended by institutional and professional stakeholders and tourism academics, which only highlights the important need for such an event in the tourism calendar.