|Pedro Cortés||Marta Mourão Teixeira|
Thirteen years after a similar conference took place in the People's Republic of China (PRC), Macau welcomed several tourism ministers and representatives of the 21 member economies of APEC, aiming to further enhance tourism in the Asia-Pacific region, where there are 22 of the 30 busiest airports in the world.
On the 25th anniversary of APEC and under the theme of building a new future for Asia-Pacific tourism cooperation and development, the 21 member economies signed the Macau Declaration. The Declaration targets an ambitious 800 million international tourists into APEC economies by 2025.
Taking into consideration that the Asia-Pacific region already has the largest tourism market in the world, members were encouraged to further improve tourism conditions. They were asked to promote innovation, explore smart tourism, boost green and sustainable development in the region with low carbon emissions, smooth visa procedures and shorten waiting times for passengers at airports.
Acknowledging the considerable differences amid APEC member economies, all members agreed that strengthening tourism cooperation is an effective way to promote connectivity in the Asia-Pacific region.
In addition to the 21 member economies, the meeting was graced with the presence of three observers – including the Macau SAR – and representatives of various entities. These were the World Travel and Tourism Council, the APEC International Center for Sustainable Tourism, the Pacific Asia Travel Association and other relevant institutions and organisations with whom the member economies were persuaded to adopt partnerships and coordination procedures.
In the course of the meeting, the Macau SAR proved it wished to become an APEC member economy. However, a formal request must be approved by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the PRC and the ultimate decision will be rendered by the APEC organisers.
By entering into APEC as a member, the Macau SAR would definitely benefit from APEC's environment of economic growth, cooperation and openness in trade and investment, safety and efficiency of movement of goods, services and people across borders in the region.
Pedro Cortés & Marta Mourão Teixeira