Pansy Ho Chiu King, vice chairperson and secretary-general of the Global Tourism Economy Forum (GTEF), announced on Tuesday that the annual forum’s regional partner next year will be the European Union.
Ho, co-chairperson and executive director of MGM China Holdings, made the announcement during her speech at the closing ceremony of the two-day forum at Macau Tower.
As next year’s forum features the 28 European member states, GTEF will be on a larger scale than this year which featured 16 central and eastern European countries and Guizhou province. It will also coincide with the 2018 EU-China Tourism Year.
In her speech, Ho emphasised the core value of collaboration. She said, “We must understand that one for all, and all for one is a pledge to share resources and share benefits. With the political will, consensus and mutual trust, regional collaboration can create a sustainable eco-system.”
Describing the progress made in previous forums, she noted that “GTEF has not only grown in size and gained a prominent global coalition in six short years, but also deepened its engagement with [the world’s] most powerful influences in tourism”.
She invited all the guests and representative in this year’s forum to return next year.
According to the Macau Post Daily, Alessandro Paolicchi, first counsellor and head of the Trade Section of the EU Office to Hong Kong, delivered a speech on behalf of the EU at the closing ceremony. “Tourism is an important way to build bridges and to better understand each other…on the EU side, we hope to attract more Chinese visitors and also to better welcome them,” Paolicchi said, underlining the importance of EU-China tourism.
He also announced a “bridge of light” between the EU and China next year – on March 2, the 2018 Lantern Festival, popular landmarks in Europe will be illuminated in red as the red of the flag of the People’s Republic of China (PRC). In the central square of the EU capital Brussels, the festival will be celebrated on that day while in China landmarks will be illuminated in blue as the blue of the EU flag on Europe Day on May 9.
Paolicchi said that Macau Tower would be turning blue on that day too. He said he looked forward to iconic buildings all over China participating, such as the Great Wall, the Oriental Pearl Tower and St Paul’s Ruins in Macau as well.