KOTA KINABALU, 29 November 2022: The World Tourism Conference (WTC) 2022, organised by the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture Malaysia in partnership with the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and Sabah State Government opened in Sabah’s state capital on 28 November.
Hosted at the Sabah International Convention Centre (SICC), Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, the two-day event is in its 6th edition attracting around 1,000 delegates from more than 60 countries to reconnect and reassess tourism’s recovery in the aftermath of the worldwide pandemic.
Alongside UNWTO officials, the conference features some 30 expert speakers comprising government policymakers, industry leaders and leading academicians in championing thought leadership on tourism futures and strategies driving tourism’s recovery and resilience in a post-pandemic world.
They include the State Minister, Ministry of Tourism Maldives, Dr Ahmed Salih; Regional General Manager, Tourism Australia, Brent Anderson; Professor Emeritus, University of Wisconsin-Stout, USA, Prof Jafar Jafari; Co-founder of Traveloka, Indonesia, and representatives from tourism-related companies such as Skift, Tripadvisor, TUI Group and Intrepid Travel.
Local Malaysian experts making an appearance on the exclusive WTC 2022 stage include Prof Dr Amran Hamzah of Universiti Teknologi Malaysia; HC Chan, CEO of Sunway Malls & Theme Parks; Lau Yin May, Group Chief Marketing and Customer Experience Officer, Malaysia Airlines; Yusno Yunos, CEO of Evenesis and two local Sabahans from Kota Kinabalu – Dr Maklarin Lakim, Director of Sabah Parks; and Jessica Yew, Founder and Director of Sticky Rice Travel.
In her welcoming address, Datuk Hajah Saraya Arbi, Secretary-General of the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture Malaysia, acknowledged the tremendous impact of the worldwide pandemic and multiple crises which continue to disrupt the tourism sector’s growth trajectory.
“However, there is also a great window of opportunity for us to rethink and reimagine tourism for the future, which is more sustainable, inclusive and less susceptible to shocks,” she said.
Despite challenging headwinds to the global economy in 2023 and beyond, experts have great expectations for the tourism sector, predicting continued pent-up demand alongside new growth opportunities and emerging niche markets arising from the pandemic. For instance, as tourism recovery gets underway, the boundaries between work, home, leisure and travel become increasingly blurred, requiring greater cross-collaboration between tourism and transport, health, security, cities and urban systems.
“These are just some exciting new prospects being explored during the two-day conference. Therefore, I hope the chosen theme of “Tourism Futures Reimagined” will inspire deep insights on the challenges, opportunities, trends and forecasts shaping the industry’s future,” Saraya concluded.