In a picture-perfect world, only Maldives can show the 34th joint Meeting of the UNWTO Commission for East Asia and the Pacific and the UNWTO Commission for South Asia (34th CAP-CSA), which was held as destinations across the region begin welcoming back international tourists.
For many millions of people across Asia and the Pacific, tourism is an essential lifeline. This is specifically true in the host country of this UNWTO event, the Maldives.
The region was hit first and hit hardest by the pandemic’s impact on tourism as many countries maintained strict restrictions on travel. Now, as UNWTO data confirms a 64% increase in international arrivals in the first quarter of 2022 compared to 2021, the high-level meeting of sector leaders identified the key challenges and opportunities ahead.
UNWTO’s Work in the Region
UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili provided an overview of tourism trends and statistics, both for the region and globally, followed by an update on the Organization’s work in the months since the previous Joint Commission meeting (hosted virtually by Spain in 2021). He stressed the importance of working together to lift travel restrictions, with coordination key to restarting tourism and for restoring confidence in international travel. “For many millions of people across Asia and the Pacific, tourism is an essential lifeline. Its return is vital and must be based around the pillars of inclusion and sustainability, for the benefit of all”, he said.