APEC tourism chiefs plan new strategy

Hanoi, October 16:

Asia-Pacific tourism ministers and officials started a two-day long meeting in Vietnam today to find ways to boost the industry which experts say now earns the region more than two trillion dollars a year.

The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting in the ancient port of Hoi An comes ahead of an APEC summit in Hanoi next month.

Delegates met for a closed retreat Monday and were due to hold an open meeting tomorrow. “Tourism is a very important industry for the APEC region,” said APEC Secretariat spokesman Christopher Hawkins. “It covers many areas on the APEC agenda, from small business and transportation to counter-terrorism and emergency.”

The fast-growing travel and tourism industry employs over 100 million people in the 21 Pacific Rim countries covered by APEC, according to the World Tra-vel and Tourism Council.

The council predi-cts 25 per cent employment grow-th in the sector will create another 30 million jobs by 2010