GTEF 2017 – Closing Remarks by Ms. Pansy Ho

Closing Remarks of Ms. Pansy Ho, Secretary General and Vice Chairman, GTEF

Chief Executive, Excellencies, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen:

It is my utmost pleasure to conclude yet another successful GTEF edition.

I am immensely proud that the tourism sector has once again used the GTEF platform to express its collective view, this time on regional collaboration, a global trend that is exemplified by the “16+1” economic framework between China and the Central and Eastern European Countries, the development plan of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay, and many other initiatives.

Our theme this year is “Regional collaboration towards a better future.” Our speakers have eloquently addressed the many challenges and opportunities intrinsic to regional collaboration, and proposed forward-thinking pragmatic solutions.

Regional collaboration means much more than creating connectivity and interconnectivity systems. It also means changing mindset, setting clear mutual expectations, and casting one’s lot with the collaboration movement.

First and foremost, we must recognize the core values of collaboration:
– That absolute gains from collaboration far outweigh the aggregate gains of
individual countries acting independently;
– That collaboration breeds positive outcome, despite initial imbalance and
disproportion;
– And that collaboration is at its best when it is created out of synergies of existing
forces rather than brand new schemes.

Second, we must realize that collaboration comprises parts that are equally important and equally indispensable. Take the typical example of the hub-and-spoke model. Interconnected and interdependent, the hub and the spoke are lifelines to each other. One without the other renders the failure of the whole system.

Last but not the least, we must understand that the concept of “one for all and all for one” is a pledge to shared resources and shared benefits.

With political will, consensus and mutual trust, regional collaboration can create a sustainable ecosystem likened to a spider web, a dynamic hub-and-spoke framework with meticulously woven strands of web in just the right places, all interrelated, interdependent, indispensable, and strategically aligned with the overall structure to create a collective outcome.

Last year, Premier Li Keqiang cited GTEF as one of the 19 major initiatives and undertakings of the Macao SAR Government to which the Central Government will grant full support, conceding the Forum’s relevance and contribution to the sustainable development of the SAR. And we owe this to each and every one of you! I must especially give thanks to Dr. Rifai, my friend and trusted mentor. With the unflagging support of Dr. Rifai, GTEF has not only grown in size and gained prominent global coalitions in 6 short years, but also deepened its engagement with the most powerful influencers in tourism. Thank you so much, Dr. Rifai!

On behalf of our chairman, Mr. Edmund Ho, I must therefore thank all of our distinguished guests and speakers, and delegates from around the world.

My sincere appreciation goes to our partner countries – the 16 Central and Eastern European Countries, and our partner Chinese province Guizhou, for sharing with us their immense tourism offerings and spectacular cultural heritage.

My gratitude goes to our host, the Government of the Macao Special Administrative Region; Dr. Alexis Tam, Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture; our collaborator, UNWTO; our co-organizer, the China Chamber of Tourism; and our supporting units, the All Federation of Industry and Commerce, the Liaison Office of the Central Government’s People in Macao SAR, the Office of the Commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, China National Tourism Administration, World Travel and Tourism Council, Pacific Asia Travel Association, World Tourism Cities Federation, European Travel Commission and Macao Government Tourism Office.

I would like to thank our sponsors including the Macau Tower Convention and Entertainment Centre as our official venue sponsor, Wynn Palace for the beautiful Welcome Dinner, and Grand Hyatt as our Opening Ceremony venue sponsor, VIP lunch partner and for special arrangements for last minute changes due to the typhoon; and very importantly, our media partners.

I would also like to thank all our honorary chairmen, advisers, and committee member, colleagues and the administrative team at the Global Tourism Economy Research Centre for their invaluable contribution. I would like to specially mention the hard work of everyone involved, particularly during the last 36 hours managing the typhoon situation.

I am extremely pleased to introduce the European Union. Given the long-standing relations between EU and China, and their mutual desire for deepen cooperation, it is an honor to offer the GTEF platform to feature the European Union as GTEF 2018’s Partner Region on the occasion of the 2018 EU-China Tourism Year.

I hope you all had an opportunity to meet and exchange ideas on how we can collaborate for a better future. I look forward to seeing you again next year. Thank you!