GENEVA, Dec. 12 (Xinhua) -- International coordination and cooperation are urgently needed to restore confidence and revitalize global tourism, Pansy Ho Chiu-king, vice chairman and secretary-general of the Global Tourism Economy Forum (GTEF), has said.
Hosted by China's Macao Special Administrative Region Government Secretariat for Economy and Finance, the 2020 GTEF opened in Macao on Wednesday, attracting worldwide tourism leaders from the public and private sectors as well as experts and scholars to share their views on tourism recovery amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
"The global tourism economy, inherently a people-to-people sector, requires coordination and cooperation to rebuild and restore confidence," Ho told Xinhua via video on the sidelines of the forum.
"Recognizing this imperative, the GTEF is committed to continuing to serve as a platform for international cooperation and exchange on the future of tourism," she added.
Global cooperation is more important than ever before, and innovative solutions are needed to rebuild traveler confidence in the "new normal," Ho said.
The raging pandemic has forced countries to impose travel restrictions and lockdowns, bringing the global tourism industry to a standstill.
In October, the United Nations World Tourism Organization expected an overall drop of close to 70 percent in international tourism for the whole of 2020, followed by a rebound in international demand in the third quarter of 2021.
In July, the United Nations (UN) Conference on Trade and Development warned that a protracted shutdown could cost the world's tourism sector 2.2 trillion U.S. dollars or 2.8 percent of the global gross domestic product.
Despite the grim outlook for global tourism, Ho, also a well-known Hong Kong-Macao entrepreneur, said Macao has successfully controlled the pandemic and supported its vibrant tourism sector.
Macao's culture of public-private partnerships and corporate social responsibility have helped overcome some of the challenges posed by the pandemic, she said.
"A range of initiatives were aimed at preserving employment and protecting SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises), including economic stimulus measures, efforts to expand domestic tourism, and the development of vocational trainings and job matching with employers," she said.
"The resilience of public-private partnerships in Macao has made it possible to generate new dynamics and unlock opportunities in today's changing tourism landscape," she added.
Macao, as a linchpin bridge connecting the west bank of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area with the rest of the region, would play a crucial role in promoting the high-quality development of tourism and creative industries, Ho said.