The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) organized the 7th UNWTO Global Summit on Urban Tourism: A 2030 Vision for Urban Tourism, on 16-19 September, in Seoul, Republic of Korea, jointly with the Seoul Metropolitan Government and supported by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism of the Republic of Korea, the Korea Tourism Organization and the Seoul Tourism Organization.

The Summit provided a unique platform to discuss the key issues shaping the future of urban tourism in the context of the 2030 Urban Agenda. It brought together high-level representatives from National Tourism Administrations, city authorities and related stakeholders, and provided a platform to exchange experiences and expertise and set a shared vision on urban tourism that embraces innovation, digital transformation and sustainability.

<NA Hyowoo, consultant for GATN Task Force, setting the scene for the panel discussion>

Hosted annually by the Seoul Metropolitan Government in collaboration with UNWTO, and organized by the Seoul Tourism Organization the Seoul International Fair & Sustainable Tourism Forum (SIFT Forum) 2018 took place on 18 September, 2018, in conjunction with the 7th UNWTO Global Summit on Urban Tourism in Seoul. The SIFT Forum gathered global and local experts and policy-makers, representatives of tourism business, and academia members to advance strategies and practical solutions to address the needs of the local communities as well as the visitors It started with the Session 4 of the UNWTO Global Summit titled “Fair and Inclusive Tourism: Building Cities for All”.

The Session was attended by hundreds of high-level representatives from National Tourism Administrations, city authorities and related tourism stakeholders, and offered a venue to share policy strategies and action plans to handle overtourism and to promote harmonious relationships between all stakeholders / co-creators of the tourist experiences, including travelers, host communities, tour operators, etc. Five panelists representing the cities of Amsterdam, Barcelona, Cape Town, Venice, and Seoul tourism organizations provided their insights on how to adopt a local approach to economic and social development in urban destinations by integrating the local community and its component along the tourism value chain.

Before the session, UNWTO launched its report “Overtourism? Understanding and managing urban tourism growth beyond perceptions”.

The SIFT 2018 continued in the afternoon with a special Session on Fair & Sustainable Tourism under the theme “Over tourism to Fair tourism: Tourism for Life, Sustainable City”, with three separate group discussions: 1. Transforming tourism: Overtourism to Fair tourism; 2. Transforming tourism: Sustainable tourism to Sustainable life, and 3. Transforming tourism: Promotion to Management. For one hour, foreign, regional and local participants discussed and proposed actions to deal with overtourism, to be implemented by the Seoul Metropolitan Government and the tourism departments of 25 local autonomous regions.

Included with these two events were special tour programs organised to enhance the context of the discussions on Urban Tourism.

  1. Traditional Seoul Tour
  2. Future Vision Tour
  3. Smart Future Tour
  4. Seoul Regeneration Tour
  5. Fair and Sustainable Tourism Village tour
  6. DPP Night Tour
  7. Panmunjom (JSA) + DMZ Tour


Impact of the Networking

Participating in such high-level meetings and events has provided tremendous opportunities for APAY to network as well as to promote the work of GATN.

  • The APAY participates in such events as opportunities for GATN to promote Responsible and Sustainable Tourism. GATN was invited as one of the key presenters at the first SIFT Forum in 2016
  • In 2018, APAY was invited to be a partner of the SIFT Forum 2018 event. Our GATN Logo was prominently displayed and GATN promotional video was played for the entire duration of the UNWTO 7th Global Summit on Urban Tourism.
  • APAY was able was able to introduce the GATN programs of our member movements to the Ministers of Tourism of their respective countries during the UNWTO 7th Global Summit on Urban Tourism.
  • APAY was also able to introduce Responsible and Sustainable Tourism programs under GATN to commercial tour companies looking to develop new destinations and contacts

<GATN Logo among the other partners>

<GATN promotional video being shown at the UNWTO 7th Global Summit on Urban Tourism>

– Chan Beng Seng, GATN Coordinator of APAY

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