Watch GTEF 2019 Highlighted Moments


Since its inauguration in 2012, the Global Tourism Economy Forum (GTEF), hosted by the Macao SAR Government, is a leading international exchange platform designed to promote the sustainable development of the global tourism sector, with a focus on China. The challenges of 2020 have greatly impacted the global tourism economy, and as one of the only key international events on the tourism economy to be held this year, the GTEF will delve into the innovative measures that have allowed the tourism sector to adapt to the “New Normal.”  

Continuing to be at the forefront of innovation, GTEF connects local and international governments and industry players to share their insights in tourism promotion and investment and ultimately to foster partnerships. During these challenging times, with global cooperation more important than ever before, the GTEF continues to uphold its mission as an international platform to promote the sustainable development of the global tourism economy.  


GTEF 2020 Theme: “Solidarity and Innovation: Reshaping Tourism in the New Global Economy” 


Championing Global Cooperation and Promoting Entrepreneurial Spirit to Stimulate Market Vitality and Create New Development Opportunities   

Two key words embody the focus of GTEF 2020: solidarity and innovation. Bringing these concepts to the forefront, GTEF will bring together international thought leaders from across the public and private sectors and academic organizations to discuss how they have met the challenges of 2020, their solutions for rebuilding consumer confidence and developing new markets and products, and how the sector can play a key role in promoting a broader global recovery.  


Technology and Innovation to Accelerate the Restart and Recovery of the Global Tourism Economy 

Tourism can be reimagined through technological innovation. Technology has already revolutionized travel with innovations in digital wallets and currencies, artificial intelligence, big data, the internet of things, and virtual and augmented reality. These changes have especially affected transportation and hospitality, where they have made the travel experience more efficient and consumer friendly. These technologies have also advanced contactless services that greatly improve hygiene and safety measures to enhance travelers’ confidence.   

The Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (GBA), which is positioned as an international science and technology innovation hub, is the base of China’s leading enterprises in cutting-edge innovation and technology. Continuously investing in the development of innovative technology solutions, from 5G networks and biometric technology, to health QR codes and vaccine research, the GBA has been at the forefront of the efforts to combat the pandemic and will be a key region when it comes to contributing to high quality development of the tourism economy. The GBA is not only full of opportunities but is also committed as a region to promoting cooperation with the tourism sector to build the infrastructure necessary for sustainable development. GTEF 2020 will highlight this rising technology and innovation hub and its latest initiatives, including a special keynote by Tencent Holdings Ltd. to share his thoughts on how technology can advance and provide solutions to the restart and recovery of the tourism economy. 


A Gathering of Public, Private, and Academic Leaders 

As an international platform to promote sustainable tourism development, with an emphasis on China, GTEF features leaders from the public, private, and academic sectors who will shed light on the upcoming trends and potential solutions for the global tourism economy post crisis, providing insight on the questions: What has been achieved to restart tourism? What remains to be done to set the global tourism economy on a path towards recovery?   

From forecasts of the health of the global tourism economy to the latest innovations and technological solutions to promote the restart of the sector, the 9th edition of GTEF will feature world-renowned leaders to explore these topics. The Forum will conclude with the formal announcement of its 2021 Partner Country, Italy, and its Featured Chinese City, Shanghai. 


Showcasing Macao’s Success Story 

With the support from China’s national policies, Macao has integrated itself into the development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong- Macao Greater Bay Area (GBA) and is preparing for its next round of growth. Macao exemplifies and promotes regional integration. In his 2020 Policy Address, Chief Executive Ho Iat Seng of the Macao SAR highlighted Macao’s urban planning efforts to establish itself as a world-leading smart city. Efforts to establish “Digital Macao” include strengthening its 5G network, establishing a data center, and building a robust infrastructure to support such developments. Chief Executive Ho also expressed his support for innovation for technology and management structures, including the support for enterprises to establish homegrown Macao-based brands. These policies and initiatives will certainly have a direct positive impact on the tourism sector and its economy. 

With its positioning as a World Center of Leisure and Tourism, Macao has truly demonstrated the importance of solidarity on the road towards recovery for the tourism economy. Macao’s tourism sector responded with solidarity and innovation to this year’s unprecedented challenges through new coordination methods between the public and private sectors. Through this year’s GTEF, Macao will showcase its confident outlook on tourism recovery, as well as its longstanding hospitality and high standards for hygiene and safety which serve as a model for tourism destinations.  


Featured Province: Gansu 

Gansu Province is one of the important birthplaces of Chinese Civilization; it is also the melting pot where the Silk Road culture and the Yellow River culture coincided. Under China’s national policy, Gansu has leveraged its rich cultural tourism offerings and the opportunities under “One Belt One Road” to promote its economic development and become an exemplary province for China’s goal of poverty alleviation. As a connector between the east and west, its location as a western province of China strategically bridges Europe with Asia and acts as an important node and hub for the Belt and Road Initiative.  

Known for its abundant cultural offerings, which include the Mogao Grottoes and the world-famous Lanzhou Noodles, and its unique nature destinations, such as the colorful Zhangye National Geopark, Featured Province Gansu will showcase its diverse tourism and cultural offerings at 2020 GTEF. 


China Story: Hubei Special 

With stunning natural beauty, Hubei Province features marvels ranging from the national parks of Shennongjia and Enshi to the historic Taoist retreat of Wudang Shan. Its largest city and capital, Wuhan, a city of 11 million, is a central hub for trade and transport with a rich history and culture and vibrant gastronomy sector. Even though it has been impacted by COVID-19, the heroic city of Wuhan continues to play a role as a gateway to national and regional development. 

Because Hubei Province was severely impacted by the outbreak this year, Chinese President Xi Jinping stated that “[we] need to lend a helping hand to Hubei during its most difficult times,” and encourages Chinese enterprises to work together to help Hubei have a speedy recovery. As such, GTEF will dedicate a special segment to Hubei and share the courage, dedication, and determination that lead to its provincial capital Wuhan’s reopening on April 8.  


UNWTO/GTERC Joint Research Report– 2020 Edition 

UNWTO/GTERC Asia Tourism Trends – 2020 Edition, the 7th annual report in the series, provides each year an analysis of the most current trends in international tourism in Asia. This year it also examines the impact of COVID-19 on tourism and how countries in the region have mitigated the impacts, stimulated recovery, and strengthened the sector for the future, including a special case study highlighting Macao. An additional focus is given to tourism and community development, looking specifically at the potential of rural tourism and the development of thematic routes in the region.