Nara, Japan, September 22 (CNA) Janice Lai, the director-general of Taiwan’s Tourism Bureau, stressed the importance of regional cooperation in the travel sector as the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation ministerial meeting on tourism opened in the ancient Japanese capital of Nara.
Part of a Taiwanese delegation led by Taiwan’s minister of Transportation and Communications Mao Chi-kuo, Lai said this year’s ministerial meeting was particularly significant because it will address the issues of tourism as an engine of economic growth and sustainability in the industry.
Inbound tourism cooperation, and new tourism models, including ecotourism, were among the topics to be discussed as part of the general focus on sustainable and inclusive growth in the region.
“Developing these new models in Taiwan will require stronger regional cooperation. Taiwan’s delegation wants to share its experiences at this meeting and learn all it can from others, ” Lai said a day before the meeting opened on Wednesday.
Taiwan’s tourism industry, listed as one of the six key emerging industries in the country by the government, was one of the few in the region to experience growth in 2009 and the sector has remained robust in 2010.
Visitor arrivals in the first eight months of the year were up 27.5 percent year-on-year at 3.6 million, according to the Tourism Bureau.
Meanwhile, on the opening day of the meeting, Mao exchanged greetings with China National Tourism Administration vice Chair Zhu Shanzhong. But Zhu was shunned by the event’s host.
The Apec tourism ministerial meeting is being held at a time of growing tensions between China and Japan over a row sparked by Japan’s detention of a Chinese fishing boat captain after he rammed his boat into Japanese Coast Guard vessels near the disputed Tiaoyutai Islands.
Japan’s Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism minister Sumio Mabuchi said Tuesday he would not meet Zhu after China signaled its displeasure with Tokyo’s handling of the dispute by suspending ministerial and higher-level exchanges.