Education and Diversification: Key to the Future of Tourism in Asia and the Pacific

According to UN Tourism’s data, the tourism sector in Asia and the Pacific is nearing a full recovery, with arrivals reaching 82% of pre-pandemic levels in the first quarter of 2024, fueled by the reopening of many destinations throughout 2023. The latest joint meeting of UN Tourism’s Commission for Asia and the Pacific (CAP) and the Commission of South Asia (CSA) focused on the challenges and opportunities for creating a positive and lasting transformation.

Guiding Transformation and Building Resilience

The 36th meeting of the CAP-CSA welcomed over 130 delegates from 25 countries and territories. Members were provided with a comprehensive overview of UN Tourism’s work and achievements since the last meeting, with key priorities presented for the years ahead.

UN Tourism Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili emphasized the importance of collaboration in facing the recent crisis and highlighted the need to support education, drive investments into the sector, and strengthen ties between public and private entities to build resilience and promote sustainability and inclusive growth.

Education as a Top-Level Tourism Priority

The Philippines, the host of the Commission meeting, was represented by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., who commended UN Tourism’s focus on education and training. He stressed the commitment to sustainability efforts and the importance of raising standards in the tourism sector through education, training, and skills upgrading. President Marcos also expressed interest in opening a new Academy in collaboration with UN Tourism in the Philippines, adding to UN Tourism’s growing network of academies focused on regional needs and key skills for the future of tourism.

Resilience through Green Transformation

During the joint Commission meeting, Member States discussed the need for green transformation to enhance the tourism sector’s competitiveness and resilience. The discussion emphasized promoting innovative and green solutions for product development.

Untapping Gastronomy Tourism’s Potential

In Cebu, the spotlight was on gastronomy tourism to diversify products and accelerate regional recovery. UN Tourism hosted its first Regional Forum on Gastronomy Tourism for Asia and the Pacific, connecting public and private sector leaders with top entrepreneurs and chefs. The forum concluded with the Cebu Call to Action on Gastronomy Tourism, urging leaders to integrate gastronomy tourism into policy, foster cross-sector cooperation, support small businesses, and promote sustainable practices.

Secretary-General Pololikashvili proposed creating an education or gastronomic centre in Cebu, to capitalize on the region’s growing reputation in gastronomy tourism.

The meetings concluded with Members agreeing to accept Indonesia’s offer to host the 37th Joint Meeting of UN Tourism’s two Asian Commissions in 2025, with exact dates to be confirmed.

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