GTEF 2017 – Closing Speech by Mr. Alexis Tam

Closing ceremony, speech of Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture of the Macao SAR Government and Executive Chairman of GTEF, Alexis Tam

Distinguished guests, Ladies and gentlemen,

Good afternoon!

First of all, I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to the Chief Executive of the Macao Special Administrative Region, Dr. Chui Sai On, for honouring the Closing Ceremony today. Your continuous supports to the Global Tourism Economy Forum contribute to the success of GTEF as a prominent meeting for global tourism leaders with a far-reaching impact across the region and the international community.

The sixth edition of the Global Tourism Economy Forum has culminated in a fruitful harvest. As this year’s event is coming to a close, I am grateful to everyone who have been working with so much   devotion and diligence to make this edition another resounding success.

My sincere appreciation goes again to our collaborative partner, the World Tourism Organization; our co-organizer, the China Chamber of Tourism; coordinator of the event, the Global Tourism Economy Research Centre. Together, they produced the fourth annual report on Asia Tourism Trends, which has been released during this Forum.My deepest gratitude also goes to our supporting entities. They are the China National Tourism Administration, the All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce, the Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government in the Macao SAR, the Office of the Commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China in the Macao SAR, the World Travel and Tourism Council, the Pacific Asia Travel Association, the World Tourism Cities Federation and the European Travel Commission, as well as all our partners and sponsors in the Forum.

The widening scope of participation in the Forum speaks volume to the increasing influence of the Forum as a remarkable example of embracing regional collaboration.Against the backdrop of the promising “16+1” economic framework between China and the Central and Eastern European Countries, this year’s Forum invited the sixteen Central and Eastern European Countries to jointly participate as our Partner Region. In these two days, delegates have been inspired by the CEEC perspectives on regional collaboration, which are as profound and diverse as their cultures and history. The “16+1” framework plants the seed of China’s Belt and Road Initiative in Europe where it is growing and flourishing. CEEC’s participation in this edition of GTEF opens another window of opportunity for further regional co-operation in the field of tourism. Riding on the momentum of the China-Europe tie, we will broaden our scope of collaboration and invite the European Union to be our Partner Region in the next edition of the Forum.

Both CEEC and the EU are major international partners with China. In line with our national initiative of “One Belt, One Road” and recognizing Macao’s unique advantages in culture and tourism, we willspare no effort to contribute to China’s deepening tourism co-operation and cultural exchanges with European countries. I believe that fostering closer relations with partners from far and nearby will prove to be an effective vehicle to deliver development and growth for us.

Ladies and gentlemen, I cannot emphasize enough how much we are committed to pursuing the vision of building an advanced international tourism platform that brings together decision makers and leaders of the global tourism industry, bridges the gap between different countries and regions, and forges partnerships among industry operators from both the public and private sectors. As the host of the Forum, we leverage the unique system, culture and geographic advantages of Macao to extend the collaboration across different cultures, sectors and territories, and readily multiply the momentum, scale and impact of the Forum with the valuable experiences we culminated over the past few years.

In fact, the Forum has underscored the remarkable role of our city in the region. Not only is Macao eagerly seizing the opportunity of the Belt and Road Initiative, we are also a core member in the China’s strategic planning of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area development. We task ourselves to enhance the synergy effect these national projects will play with our own positioning as the world centre of tourism and leisure, as well as the platform between China and the Portuguese-speaking countries. In this context, we are also actively consolidating Macao as a hub where traditional Chinese culture prevails and other cultures flourish in harmony.

The Belt and Road Initiative has risen to be a key driver for global tourism and economic progress. We hope that the focus of this Forum edition on “Regional Collaboration towards a Better Future” will light up the future paths where we navigate our way through opportunities and challenges for tourism development. With the fresh inspirations gained and international network built during this Forum, I encourage you to capitalize on the possibilities brought by the Belt and Road Initiative, share your strengths and synchronize your efforts in strategic partnerships. Together, we can build a strategic foundation on which a healthy and sustainable tourism industry will develop.

On the final note, allow me to extend my gratitude once again to all of you for your presence in the Forum. On behalf of the Macao Special Administrative Region Government, I sincerely invite all of you to join us again in the seventh edition of the Forum next year. We are looking forward to welcoming you in Macao in 2018.

Thank you very much!