Taleb Rifai, the UNWTO’s Secretary-General, addressed ITB Asia for the first time today. The UN’s tourism chief used the event to hail the strength of the Asia Pacific region and host country Singapore, for which he reserved special praise.
“Singapore is a shining example of how countries can succeed,” Rifai told the event’s opening media briefing on Wednesday morning, adding that he looked at the Lion City with “appreciation and admiration” for its tourism success. “I am proud to be here,” he stated.
Rifai went on to outline the strength of tourism in the Asia Pacific region, reiterating the recently-released UNWTO long-term tourism forecast that predicts Asia Pacific will account for 30% of global tourism arrivals by 2030 – up from 22% at present. The forecast also states that Northeast Asia will become the world’s most visited region in 20 years time.