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PATA advocates sustainable development of the visitor economy

PATA advocates sustainable development of the visitor economy
September 19, 2013

The Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA), in collaboration with the ASEAN-China Centre and the Jiuzhaigou National Park Administration, examined the impact of tourism development on cultural and natural environments at the recent 3rd China Responsible Tourism Forum (CRTF), held on 12th September at the Sheraton Hotel, Jiuzhaigou Sichuan, China.

Building on the success of the first two forums, this year's event brought together respected industry leaders to fully examine the potential for sustainable tourism development.

PATA Chief Executive Martin Craigs explained "the Asia Pacific travel and tourism industry is at a critical point, growing at such a rapid rate compared to the rest of the world, that we must pay careful attention to how we are developing our businesses and the impact our practices have on our environment and culture."

Under the theme 'Beautiful China – A Responsible Visitor Economy', the Forum was held in the UNESCO World Heritage site of Jiuzhaigou Valley. Surrounded by spectacular landscapes that are home to many endangered species, corporate social responsibility (CSR) and sustainability experts from the visitor economy provided provocative presentations of innovative ideas and concepts to engage participants in stimulating discussions that examine how the tourism industry can engineer social change for the long-term preservation of our environment, while stimulating economic development through tourism and ecotourism.

Craigs added "PATA is committed to facilitating an on-going dialogue and exchange of good practices to ensure that those in the industry remain focused on adopting socially responsible and sustainable practices that help protect and preserve the heritage and culture of China and neighbouring regions, while increasing the positive socio-economic impacts within our region."

This year marked the first time that the concepts of 'Beautiful China' and the promotion of responsible tourism development have been addressed during the quinquennial Communist Party of China's National Congress and keynote report.

PATA aims to leverage the CRTF as a platform for discussion and knowledge exchange between Chinese counterparts and the international industry. Delegates from all parts of the visitor economy in China and other ASEAN countries had an opportunity to hear and debate critical new research and policies, emerging issues, challenges and opportunities influencing the industry and its future development and sustainability.

Commenting on the event, ASEAN-China Centre Secretary-General MA Mingqiang stated "travel and tourism industry plays a key role in economic development, job creation and people-to-people communications. Statistics from China National Tourism Administration shows, in 2012 mainland Chinese travelers made altogether 9.7 million visitations to ASEAN Member States, while 5.89 million visitations from ASEAN Member States to China.

"In such a huge market, travellers' behaviour will unavoidably have an impact on the destination. As an inter-governmental organization, ASEAN-China Centre advocates that all industry insiders, including governments and private sectors from both ASEAN and China, should operate and develop tourism in a more responsible manner."

 National and international keynote speakers at the event hailed from government, education, the conservation sector, industry associations, tour operators and sustainability product providers and services.

Representatives from leading CSR organizations such as EC3 Global and the German International Cooperation Agency (GIZ) also provided keynote presentations while educational institutions including the Capilano University and Intercultural Education provided examples of good practices and new ideas on stimulating discussion through education.

CPPCC Aba Prefectural Committee Deputy President and Jiuzhaigou National Park Director Zhang Xiaoping concluded "Jiuzhaigou National Park has always taken conservation as the priority over tourism development.

"With management and technology introducing and innovating, the park has made great achievements in environment and local culture protection as well as environmental education. We will continue working on the sustainable development to insure that we are responsible for the environment, the local community and also the future generations."

To learn more about the future PATA events go to


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