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The APEC Tourism Working Group (TWG) was formed in 1991 as a platform for tourism administrators of APEC economies to share information, exchange views and develop areas of cooperation in tourism, trade and policies to support growth in the region through travel and tourism.

In 2020, the group endorsed its APEC TWG Strategic Plan 2020–2024, covering four priority areas with the following objectives:

  1. Digital transformation
  • Facilitate the uptake of digital and innovative technologies across the travel and tourism supply chain to meet and exceed visitor expectations, increase competitiveness, and expand the benefits of travel and tourism to the entire community
  1. Human capital development
  • Support the development of skills and capabilities (including digital literacy) of employers and employees to deliver high-quality visitor experiences and create career pathways
  1. Travel facilitation and competitiveness

    Support the strengthening of air, sea, road and rail connectivity to meet visitor demand and enhancing regional access; work with relevant authorities to provide secure, efficient and positive visitor experiences at entry and exit.
  1. Sustainable tourism and economic growth
  • Communicate the importance of travel and tourism as an economic driver in APEC economies; and promote better understanding and recognition of travel and tourism as an engine for growth in the APEC region
  • Maximize the travel and tourism sector’s contribution to employment, economic development, environmental protection and resilience, cultural and natural heritage preservation and inclusiveness to create economic and social benefits for business and communities in urban and rural areas

11th Tourism Ministerial Meeting

The 11th APEC Tourism Ministerial Meeting (TMM11) was held on 19 August 2022in Bangkok, Thailand, chaired by His Excellency Mr Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn, Minister of Tourism and Sports of Thailand. This was the first ministerial meeting after the COVID-19 pandemic since 2018, when tourism ministers last met in Papua New Guinea. 

Member economies discussed the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the global tourism sector; the importance to resume safe and seamless cross-border travel in the APEC region; challenges and opportunities for the future of tourism in the region; and the role of digitalization in promoting travel. Members also discussed the group’s 2019-2022 activities and continuous efforts toward implementing projects and initiatives under the APEC Tourism Strategic Plan 2020-2024 and its four priority areas.

As a result of the meeting, member economies adopted the Updated Guidelines for Tourism Stakeholders and the Policy Recommendations for Tourism of the Future: Regenerative Tourism, which is directly in line with the  Chair’s Statement on the 11th APEC Tourism Ministerial Meeting. 

The Economic Contribution of Tourism in the APEC Region

In 2018, APEC ministers recognized the economic significance of tourism in terms of regional cooperation, trade, MSME support, job creation, skills enhancement, innovation, and the development of ICT.

Prior to the pandemic, the tourism sector was one of the fastest growing economic sectors in the world. In 2019, travel and tourism’s direct, indirect and induced impact accounted for

  • USD 9.2 trillion contributed to the world’s GDP, or 10.4 percent of global GDP
  • 334 million jobs or 1 in 10 jobs around the world
  • USD 1.7 trillion in visitor exports (6.8 percent of total exports, 27.4 percent of global services exports)

Severely hit by the pandemic, the contribution of the tourism sector to global GDP has decreased by 49.1 percent, from USD 9.2 trillion in 2019 to USD 4.7 trillion in 2020. The contribution of tourism sector accounted for 10.4 percent of global GDP in 2019, which declined to a share of 5.5 percent in 2020. The 334 million jobs in 2019 that are connected to the tourism sector have shrunk to 272 million jobs, a decrease of 18.5 percent in 2020.

In the Asia-Pacific region, the total contribution of the tourism sector to GDP suffered a 53.7 percent drop from USD 3 trillion in 2019 to USD 1.4 trillion in 2020. The contribution of the sector in the region accounted to 9.9 percent of the total economy in 2019. This decreased to only 4.6 percent of the total economy in the Asia-Pacific in 2020. The number of jobs also plummeted from 185.06 million in 2019 to 151.01 million jobs in 2020, an 18.4 percent decrease of total employment in the region.       

The tourism sector directly and indirectly contributed to all 17 of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, in particular, economic growth and decent work, industry, innovation and infrastructure, and responsible consumption and production.

Last page update: January 2024


Yasmeen Yasim (Dr)
Lead Shepherd
Deputy Secretary-General (Tourism)
Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture of Malaysia
Email: [email protected]
Nicole Ledoux Vargas (Ms)
Program Director

Current Activities


The TWG had two plenary meetings in 2023. The 61st TWG Meeting was held in a hybrid format on 26-27 April, hosted by the Philippines. The 62nd TWG Meeting was held in-person in Seattle on 4-5 August, hosted by The United States.


  1. Handbook on Increasing the Readiness and Resiliency of Tourism Destination Stakeholders in Managing Health Crises in APEC Economies (August 2023)
  2. Tourism Industry of APEC Region in the COVID-19 Recovery Period: Current Situation, Trends and Challenges (April 2023)
  3. Applying Digital Tools by MSMEs and Individuals in Travel and Tourism Sector under COVID-19 (December 2022)
  4. Understanding the Role Played by ICT in Disaster Response of MSMEs (August 2022)
  5. Tourism Access and Inclusion: Best Practice Guidelines for Tourism MSMEs in APEC (April 2022)
  6. Handbook on Developing Community-Based Entrepreneurship (CBE) in Rural Tourism through Digital Empowerment (February 2022)


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