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PATA examines the sustainable development of the visitor economy at the 3rd China Responsible Tourism Forum

The Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA), in collaboration with the ASEAN-China Centre and the Jiuzhaigou National Park Administration, will organise the 3rd China Responsible Tourism Forum (CRTF) on September 12, 2013 at the Sheraton Hotel, Jiuzhaigou Sichuan, China.

Building on the success of the first two forums, this year's event brings together respected industry leaders to fully examine the impact of tourism development on cultural and natural environments.

“The Asia Pacific travel and tourism industry is at a critical point, growing at such a rapid rate compared to the rest of the world, that we must pay careful attention to how we are developing our businesses and the impact our practices have on our environment and culture,” said Martin Craigs, PATA Chief Executive Officer.

Under the theme “ Beautiful China – A Responsible Visitor Economy,” the Forum is aptly being held in the UNESCO World Heritage site of Jiuzhaigou Valley . Surrounded by spectacular landscapes that are home to many endangered species, corporate social responsibility (CSR) and sustainability experts from the visitor economy will provide provocative presentations of innovative ideas and concepts to engage participants in stimulating discussions that examine how as an industry we can engineer social change for the long-term preservation of our environment, while stimulating economic development through tourism and ecotourism.

Craigs said, “PATA is committed to facilitating an on-going dialogue and exchange of good practices to ensure that those in the industry remain focused on adopting socially responsible and sustainable practices that help protect and preserve the heritage and culture of China and neighbouring regions, while increasing the positive socio-economic impacts within our region.”

This year marks the first time that the concepts of “Beautiful China” and the promotion of responsible tourism development have been addressed during the quinquennial Communist Party of China's National Congress and keynote report.

PATA aims to leverage the CRTF as a platform for discussion and knowledge exchange between Chinese counterparts and the international industry. Delegates from all parts of the visitor economy in China and other ASEAN countries will have an opportunity to hear and debate critical new research and policies, emerging issues, challenges and opportunities influencing the industry and its future development and sustainability.

Mr. MA Mingqiang, Secretary-General of ASEAN- China Centre said, “Travel and tourism industry plays a key role in economic development, job creation and people-to-people communications. Statistics from China National Tourism Administration shows, in 2012 mainland Chinese travelers made altogether 9.7 million visitations to ASEAN Member States, while 5.89 million visitations from ASEAN Member States to China.”

He further stated, “In such a huge market, the travelers' behaviour will unavoidably have an impact on the destination. As an inter-governmental organization, ASEAN-China Centre advocates that all industry insiders, including governments and private sectors from both ASEAN and China , should operate and develop tourism in a more responsible manner.”

National and international keynote speakers hail from all parts of the economy including government, education, the conservation sector, industry associations, tour operators and sustainability product providers and services. Representatives from leading CSR organizations such as EC3 Global and the German International Cooperation Agency (GIZ) will provide keynote presentations. Educational institutions such as Capilano University and Intercultural Education will provide examples of good practices and new ideas on stimulating discussion through education.

“Jiuzhaigou National Park has always taken conservation as the priority over tourism development,” said Zhang Xiaoping, Deputy President of CPPCC Aba Prefectural Committee, Director of Jiuzhaigou National Park. “With management and technology introducing and innovating, the park has made great achievements in environment and local culture protection as well as environmental education. We will continue working on the sustainable development to insure that we are responsible for the environment, the local community and also the future generations.”

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