Ecotourism developments and trends in the Asia Pacific region

Stephen Yong Executive Director Mekong Tourism Office  


Sustainable Tourism Development and Management

Before we start…why do we travel?

We’re in the Business of Travel & Leisure OR

We Travel for Business & Leisure


Daily tourism spend hits US$2 billion daily average Madrid (2006-07-14)

THE UN World Tourism Organization says tourism spending now averages US$2 billion a day, up 3.4 per cent from 2005. Last year, the organisation estimates US$682 billion was spent abroad by tourists. If spending on foreign passenger transport of US$130 billion is added, the total export spend is more than US$800 billion, some six per cent of global export of all goods and services. In comparison to receipts, international tourist arrivals grew by 5.6 per cent in 2005. Africa and the Middle East were the fastest growing regions, with arrivals increasing 10 and 9.5 per cent respectively in 2005 over the previous year. Asia and Pacific arrivals grew 7.8 per cent in that period.


Asia Pacific

14% of the world’s land mass but…… Home to almost two thirds of the world’s people Generates close to one quarter of the worlds international arrivals Produces close to 40% of the worlds tourist receipts Expected to be responsible for almost 60%of the global tourism demand


Tourism is




The Ultimate Rejuvenation

Memorable Experiences


The Five A’s

Accessibility: Road, Sea, Rail, Air

Accommodation: Hotel, Guest Houses, Homestay, etc.

Attractions: Natural, Man-made Activities: Festivals, Sports, Arts

Acceptance: Destination, Tourists, Communities


Stakeholders in the Industry

Those whose resources are used - Government bodies such as parks, wildlife, museums, heritages sites, traditional landowners

Those who deliver the product - Tourism operators such as airlines, hotels, restaurants, attractions, tour operators

Those who manage destinations - Tourism commissions, local and national governments

Those who provide infrastructure - Roads, buildings, water supply, waste disposal

Those who are employed - Managers,hotel and airline workers


Sustainable Tourism Dimensions

For sustainable tourism to succeed in any destination, 2 dimensions must be studied in detail:

1 - The Ecosystem Dimension

2 - The Human Dimension



Negative Physical Impacts of Tourism

Degrade heritage sites Reduce biological diversity Destroy habitat for wildlife Pollute lakes, rivers and coasts Contribute significantly to global warming Lead to a loss of scenic beauty Overuse valuable fresh water resources



Negative Socio-Cultural Impacts

Commodification of sacred rituals & traditions Standardisation of tourism facilities Loss of authenticity and staged authenticity Adaptation of tourist demands Economic inequality of lifestyles Irritation due to tourist behaviour Job level friction Crime generation Child labour Prostitution and sex tourism Drugs


Sustainable Tourism Initiatives

Establishing legal and regulatory frameworks for planning, development, control, protection and conservation

Establishing tourism development agencies, protected areas, institutions to manage and tax on resource usage, education and training programs.

Providing infrastructure, such as ports, roads, waste management and a potable water supply

Providing incentives for responsible development and operation of tourism facilities.

Investing marketing and promotion of tourism destinations that conveys a sustainability message The Government needs to support public education programs that raise the awareness of sustainable principles among consumers.


GMS Tourism Sector Strategy 2006 – 2015

Mission Statement

- To develop & promote the Mekong as a single destination, offering a diversity of good quality & high-yielding sub-regional products that help to distribute the benefits of tourism more widely - To add to the tourism development efforts of each GMS country

- To contribute to poverty reduction, gender equality & empowerment of women

- To promote sustainable development, while minimising any adverse impacts


Why Tourism in GMS?

- Major growth engine for socio-economic development and poverty alleviation

- Promoter of the conservation of natural and cultural heritage

- Harbinger of peace


Codes of Conduct

There are two codes of conduct which encourage both the supply and demand side of the tourism equation to follow sustainable practices. This codes were established by PATA

1 - The PATA Travellers Code

2 - APEC/PATA Code for Sustainable Tourism