Announcing this in New Delhi on Thursday, Union Tourism Minister K. Chiranjeevi said the need of the hour is not the tourism growth alone but development of tourism in sustainable manner.
He said in this meeting, international experts, delegates from the member countries of the UNWTO Commissions for South Asia and East Asia and Pacific, UNWTO, various state governments of India and tourism industry will participate.
During the conference exchange of ideas will take place on the way forward to develop tourism in a sustainable manner.
The Minister said: "India has been working with UNWTO closely for the cause of developing nations. Our initiative at the international level to host the two events, no doubt, will go a long way in highlighting India's role in promoting global and regional tourism in sustainable manner for the economic growth, employment generation and social integration."
The Tourism Minister said South Asian region has rich and varied tourism products to attract visitors from the world over - with heritage and culture dating back to thousands of years, architectural and natural marvels, an unmatched bio-diversity and home to almost all the world religions.
He said: "In spite of rich heritage, the market share of South Asia in World Tourist Arrivals is only 1.3pc - which is a cause of concern. On a positive note the average annual growth in international tourist arrivals to the region during the period 2005 to 2011 has been 7.2pc as compared to the world annual average growth of 3.5pc during the same period."
Chiranjeevi said the 25th meeting of the UNWTO Joint Commission will bring together tourism authorities from 27 member countries and two associate members and give them an opportunity to review the tourism performance of the two regions and deliberate upon measures and policies to be adopted for future.
In this meeting, the best practices and policies adopted world over will also be shared. India is currently the chairperson of the UNWTO Regional Commission for South Asia and considering the fact that the 25th Joint Meeting is being held in India, we would be chairing this meeting with Malaysia as co-chair, the Minister added.
The Union Tourism Minister informed that till date 21 countries namely Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brunei, Cambodia, China, Fiji, Indonesia, Iran, Japan, LAO PDR, Macau, Malaysia, Maldives, Myanmar, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Timor Leste and Vietnam have confirmed their participation.
He said the UNWTO will be represented by Taleb Rifai, Secetary General and his team. This meeting will also be attended by the Chief Executive Officer of the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA).
The Minister said that for the first time Ministry of Tourism will be sending an electronic invitation and itinerary in form of a short film to all delegates and invitees welcoming them to the city of Hyderabad.
The Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, in collaboration with the Government of Andhra Pradesh is hosting the joint meeting and the conference.
The UNWTO is the United Nations agency responsible for the promotion of responsible, sustainable and universally accessible tourism.
As the leading international organisation in the field of tourism, UNWTO promotes tourism as a driver of socio-economic growth and development and advocates its inclusion as a priority in national and international policies.
India is currently the chairperson of the UNWTO Regional Commission for South Asia.
The UNWTO Joint Commission Meeting will bring together delegates from member countries and give them an opportunity to review the tourism performance of the region and deliberate on measures for further development.
India accords great importance to the issue of Sustainable Tourism.
As a commitment to Safe and Sustainable Tourism Development, India has developed a code for "Safe and Honorable Tourism" and Sustainable Tourism Criteria for the Accommodation and Tour Operators sectors.
The UNWTO Conference on Sustainable Tourism Development will include a global review on sustainable tourism development and sustainable practices as well an industry and media perspective on sustainable criteria for tourism.
Over 250 delegates are expected to participate in the Sustainable Tourism Conference.
These will include UNWTO delegates as well as representatives from State Governments and Union Territories and private stakeholders from the travel and hospitality industries. The Joint Commission Meeting will have approximately 125 delegates from the UNWTO member countries.
In addition to the meetings, various events have been organised to give the visiting delegates a glimpse of the rich culture and cuisine of the country. These include dinners and cultural programmes at the Taramati Baradari, Golconda Fort, Shilparamam and Ramoji Film City as well as a tour to the Buddhist Heritage sites at Nagarjuna Sagar and Nagarjuna Konda.
The event will provide an opportunity for Andhra Pradesh and particularly the city of Hyderabad to showcase the varied attractions and facilities to the international tourism fraternity and would help in promoting tourism to the state.
--IBNS (Posted on 04-04-2013)