World Tourism Conference highlights tourism recovery, resilience post-pandemic

Over 1000 delegates from more than 60 countries recently attended the World Tourism Conference (WTC) 2022 jointly organised by Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture Malaysia with World Tourism
Organization (UNWTO) and Sabah State Government.

The sixth installment of the event which was held at the Sabah International Convention Centre (SICC), Kota Kinabalu, Sabah aimed to reconnect and reassess tourism’s recovery in the aftermath of the worldwide

Alongside UNWTO officials, the conference features some 30 expert speakers comprising government policy makers, industry leaders and leading academicians in championing thought leadership on tourism futures and strategies driving tourism’s recovery and resilience in a post-pandemic world.

Among the attendees include State Minister, Ministry of Tourism Maldives, Dr. Ahmed Salih; Regional General Manager, Tourism Australia, Brent Anderson; Professor Emeritus, University of Wisconsin-Stout, USA, Prof. Jafar Jafari; Co-founder of Traveloka, Indonesia, Albert; and representatives from some of the world’s most innovative tourism-related companies such as Skift, Tripadvisor, TUI Group and Intrepid Travel.

Image courtesy of MOTAC

Malaysian experts making an appearance on the exclusive WTC 2022 stage include Prof. Dr. Amran Hamzah of Universiti Teknologi Malaysia; HC Chan, CEO of Sunway Malls & Theme Parks; Lau Yin May, Group Chief Marketing and Customer Experience Officer, Malaysia Airlines; Yusno Yunos, CEO of Evenesis and two Sabahans from Kota Kinabalu – Dr. Maklarin Lakim, Director of Sabah Parks; and Jessica Yew, Founder and Director of Sticky Rice Travel.

One of the major highlights of the conference was the keynote presentation by distinguished speaker, Prof. Dato’ ChM. Dr. Mazlin Mokhtar of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network-Asia and Academy of Sciences Malaysia, who will for the first time bring a scientist’s perspective to the WTC, particularly in advancing a more sustainable tourism recovery that embraces energy transition and carbon neutrality.

In her welcoming address, Datuk Hajah Saraya Arbi, Secretary-General of the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture Malaysia acknowledged the tremendous impact of the worldwide pandemic and multiple crises which continue to disrupt the tourism sector’s growth trajectory.

“However, there is also a great window of opportunity for us to rethink and reimagine tourism for the future which is more sustainable, inclusive and less susceptible to shocks,” she said.

Despite challenging headwinds to the global economy in 2023 and beyond, experts have great expectations for the tourism sector, predicting continued pent-up demand alongside new growth opportunities and emerging niche markets arising from the pandemic.

Image courtesy of MOTAC

For instance, as tourism recovery gets underway, the boundaries between work, home, leisure and travel become increasingly blurred, requiring greater cross-collaboration between tourism and transport, health, security, cities and urban systems toward greater liveability and quality of life for both visitors and residents alike.

“These are just some of the exciting new prospects that will be explored during the two-day conference. Therefore, I hope the chosen theme of “Tourism Futures Reimagined” will inspire deep insights on the challenges, opportunities, trends and forecasts shaping the future of the industry,” Saraya concluded.


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