Since the first Forum was held in 2012, the two organizations have partnered around promoting closer links between governments and tourism’s private sector. Building on this success, UNWTO and GTEF have announced plans for a revamped and enhanced annual Forum to coincide with the 10th anniversary of the event in Macao, China (21 September). The location of subsequent Forums will then alternate between Macau and a different host country, to be jointly selected by UNWTO and GTEF.
UNWTO and GTEF: Partners in Tourism Leadership
• In 2022, UNWTO and the Global Tourism Economic Forum (GTEF) celebrated 10 years of
• UNWTO is the United Nations Specialized Agency for tourism for development – with 165
Member States and a global network of Affiliate Members from the private sector, academia, and destinations.
• GTEF enjoys the support of the Chinese Government and is established as a leading tourism platform, bringing together the sector’s global public and private sector leaders.
UNWTO is proud to work with the Global Tourism Economic Forum to unite governments and private sector leaders and address the biggest challenges and opportunities facing our sector today
Announcing the plans in Lisbon, UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili said: “UNWTO is proud to work with the Global Tourism Economic Forum to unite governments and private sector leaders and address the biggest challenges and opportunities facing our sector today. We look forward to building on our successful partnership in 2023 and beyond.”
Pansy Ho, Vice Chairman and Secretary-General, GTEF, said: “In response to China’s policies in supporting enterprises to ‘go global’, we will stage the GTEF, an international platform, overseas every other year. Looking forward to the future, we believe that mainland China, Macao, and even the world can benefit from the event.”
UNWTO and GTEF: The Next 10 Years
• From 2023, the Global Tourism Economic Forum will be held alternately between Macau and a different host country. UNWTO will support GTEF in selecting host countries.
• The Forum’s status as a top global platform for tourism policy and knowledge exchange is
set to be further enhanced.
• The Forum will lead the way in promoting collaboration between Governments and the
private sector, with a focus on tourism sustainability and resilience.
Tourism for Business and Development
The 10th edition of GTEF will be held around the theme of “Destination 2030: Unlocking Tourism for Business and Development”. It will bring together Governments as well as leaders from across the public and private sectors to further establish the Forum as the premier annual event for public-private partnerships and tourism for business growth and development.
Also in Lisbon, UNWTO signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Global Tourism Economy Research Centre (GTERC), the coordinator of GTEF, to work together to identify areas of future cooperation. Joining UNWTO Secretary-General Pololikashvili for the announcement were Ho Iat Seng, Chief Executive of Macao SAR; Zhao Bentang, Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to the Portuguese Republic, and Nuno Fazenda, Secretary of State for Tourism, Trade and Services, Portugal.
Tourism Today: Recovering and Transforming
• Tourism is bouncing back from the impacts of the pandemic (the worst crisis in the history of the sector).
• UNWTO data shows global international tourist arrivals returned to approximately 80% of
pre-pandemic (2019) levels at the end of 2022. Near-complete recovery (95%) expected by the end of this year.
• The re-opening of China to tourism “the final piece in tourism’s recovery” (UNWTO). China is world’s biggest tourism source market: In 2019, Chinese tourists spent a collective US$255 billion on international travel.
• UNWTO is leading the transformation of tourism around greater sustainability, inclusivity and resilience. Priorities include: promoting investment in tourism; jobs, training and education, tourism climate action; tourism governance.