Sustainable tourism development is no longer just a mere cliche, but has become a major contributor to a more environmentally sustainable economy, said Malaysian Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz.
He said that with the right investment, tourism can be a lead change agent in the move to a green economy by driving economic growth and job creation.
“At the same time, it simultaneously improves resource efficiency, minimises environmental degradation as well as raises environmental awareness among travellers,” he said in his welcoming speech at the Asean Tourism Conference 2014, here, Tuesday.
Mohamed Nazri said that with a positive outlook, Asean members were motivated to mainstream tourism as a priority sector to drive economic growth globally and for the Southeast Asian region.
In this regard, he said, many countries had chosen tourism development as one of the main pillars of their economic and national development.
Mohamed Nazri said that as Asean members intensified their efforts to advance tourism together, they would create more jobs and generate more income compared with the outcome of working in silos.
“We will certainly make a significant difference through better networking, coordination and cooperation, thus raising the economic well-being and quality of life of the people to a much higher level,” he said.
He said that according to the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) study, ‘Tourism Towards 2030 – Global Overview’, international tourist arrivals for the period 2012 to 2030 were predicted to grow at an average annual rate of 3.3 per cent.
The minister said tourist arrivals were forecast to increase from 940 million in 2012 to 1.8 billion in 2030.
“This accounts for an expansion in market size of 900 million international tourists in 2030,” he said.