Tourism ministers gather in Madrid, discuss tourism and security

Tourism Ministers and Heads of Tourism from 86 countries and regions attended a high-level meeting on global tourism and security held by the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) last week. Attendees included Macau’s Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture, Alexis Tam Chon Weng. The forum was co-organised by the United Nations Office for Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in a bid to provide a platform for the tourism heads of the regions to exchange ideas on offering a safe and comfortable tourism environment. Taleb Rifai, Secretary General of the UNWTO, presented three main topics – the sustainable development of the tourism industry; better usage of modern technology in providing tourism information; providing safe tourism environment – in his opening ceremony address. Alexis Tam said that being invited to attend the meeting demonstrated UNWTO’s recognition of the Macau SAR and that he hopes to better understand other countries’ tourism safety measures and strategy in order to use them as references and better safeguard SAR tourism, according to a press release issued yesterday. The meeting concluded a number of resolutions and recommendations and David Scowsill of the WTTC (World Travel & Tourism Council) also confirmed that at the 16th Global Summit to be held in Dallas in early April the Tourism Ministers meeting with the press would feature on the programme. The WTTC, as representatives of the private sector, and the UNWTO, as the public sector, were keen to remind the industry and Ministers of Tourism of the existing example of what is being called public/private sector partnership.