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Tourism forum shines sportlight on Central, Eastern European countries

For its 6th edition, GTEF invited 16 central and Eastern European countries, attracting the highest number of participants since its inception in 2012

Kicking off on October 16 and 17, the 6th edition of the Global Tourism Economy Forum (GTEF) is to feature 16 Central and Eastern European countries to emphasise the theme ‘Regional Collaboration towards a Better Future’.
Introducing the event to the press yesterday at the Macau Tower Convention and Entertainment Centre, Vice Chairman and Secretary-General of the GTEF, Pansy Ho, said that this year’s edition has attracted the highest number of participants, with delegations from 50 countries and 39 Chinese cities, as well as 169 speakers.
Given the importance of media in promoting the image of Macau, Ho reported that the media value of the Forum has reached US$33 million with 100 reporters attending the Forum every year.
“We have been having BBC and CNN as our media for many editions,” said Ho. “For a Forum that is held for the sixth time the outcome is quite encouraging.”
Ip Peng Kin, representative of the Secretariat for Social Affairs and Culture, meanwhile, reported that the budget of the sixth GTEF is around MOP46 million, a slight increase of 2 per cent when compared to last year’s MOP45 million.
Of the total funding, MOP24.2 million will come from the Tourism Fund, up 10 per cent, while the rest will be contributed by other sponsors, such as local gaming operators.
With GTEF highly supported by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang when announcing the 19 measures last year, the Forum has an important role for the development of the city’s economy.
“Macau itself is also placed in an important part in the Belt and Road initiatives and the Greater Bay Area [development],” said Ip. “[In view of that] the Forum is very important in diversifying the city’s economy.”
In addition, owing to the increased attention to Macau’s role, Ip divulged that the number of Forum participants has increased every year.
“This year, we’re expecting 1,500 individuals to attend the Forum,” said Ip. “Including the 7,000 participants accumulated over the past editions, we’re expecting the number to reach between 8,500 and 9,000.”
Meanwhile, Maria Helena de Senna Fernandes, Director of Macao Government Tourism Office (MGTO), said the Forum has allowed the city to meet other countries and to learn from them.
“For instance, we have learned from France’s experiences in dealing with crises given the current unstable conditions occurring in Europe,” said Fernandes.
With the effort of integrating the Belt and Road and the ‘16+1’ economic framework – including the invitation to the 16 European countries (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Montenegro, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia and Slovenia) to participate – the MGTO head perceived that a close relationship would be established with the invited countries following this year’s Forum.
“For us, we have been focusing on the Western European countries,” said the MGTO Director. “After this Forum we might review our focus and layout.”
Aside from the 16 European countries, this year the Forum is featuring Guizhou Province as the Forum’s featured partner province to bring experiences and knowledge of eco-tourism to the Forum, remarked Ho.