ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COMMISSION FOR ASIA AND THE PACIFIC
EMERGING ISSUES AND DEVELOPMENTS AT THE REGIONAL LEVEL: TRANSPORT, COMMUNICATIONS, TOURISM AND INFRASTRUCTURE DEVELOPMENT
(Item 6 (d) of the provisional agenda)
DRAFT PLAN OF ACTION FOR SUSTAINABLE TOURISM DEVELOPMENT IN THE ASIAN AND PACIFIC REGION
Note by the secretariat
1. The concept of sustainable development necessitates a general rethinking of economic development. It raises questions about whether traditional economic development brings greater prosperity and better living conditions in the short term while placing longer-term prosperity and the quality of life of future generations at risk.
2. Two important documents of the United Nations emerged from the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, held at Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 1992. The first was the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, which set out principles and outlined goals and activities leading signatory nations to sustainable development. The second was Agenda 21, which addressed systematically the role of governments in its implementation and emphasized policy and planning, integrated decision-making and community participation. There have been ongoing efforts to adapt the Rio Declaration and Agenda 21 to tourism, especially by the World Tourism Organization.
3. ESCAP has been addressing the various issues arising from the contribution of tourism to socio-economic development in the region. A number of studies and findings have shown that tourism can make a significant contribution to national social and economic development. In order to support and increase that contribution, the concept of sustainable tourism development provides a comprehensive framework for action at the regional and national levels.
4. The Commission, at its fifty-third session held at Bangkok in April 1997, suggested that the recommendations and decisions of the Intergovernmental Meeting on Tourism Development, held at Bangkok in December 1996, should be translated into a plan of action that provides a framework for effective cooperation and promotion of tourism by ESCAP member countries and areas. The Committee on Transport, Communications, Tourism and Infrastructure Development, at its first session held at Bangkok in November 1998, considered a draft plan of action for sustainable tourism development in the Asian and Pacific region and endorsed it. The Committee observed that the decisions and recommendations of the Intergovernmental Meeting had been adequately reflected in the plan. The World Tourism Organization and several other international organizations involved in tourism had expressed their willingness to support and cooperate in the implementation of the plan.
I. DRAFT PLAN OF ACTION FOR SUSTAINABLE TOURISM DEVELOPMENT IN THE ASIAN AND PACIFIC REGION
5. To meet the various requirements for sustainable tourism development, a number of issues need to be addressed and specific actions need to be taken at the national and regional levels. Attention also needs to be given to the various modalities for implementation of those actions. Attention also needs to be given to the development of strategies for the implementation of the action plan within a specified time-frame and the mobilization of resources.
A. Requirements for sustainable tourism development
6. Human beings are at the centre of concerns for sustainable tourism development. In order for tourism development to provide benefits to people in host countries and satisfaction to the tourists visiting those countries, the positive contribution of the tourism sector needs to be sustained and negative effects minimized or eliminated. This requires that all people involved in the tourism industry have foresight, commitment and the tools to plan and manage in a way that meets present needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.
7. While tourism is an economic activity largely carried out by the private sector in most countries, national governments make policies and plans for tourism development in terms of national economic objectives. These objectives aim at earning foreign exchange, creating employment, attracting investment and ensuring more equitable and more widespread distribution of income. Sustainable tourism development, on the other hand, involves almost all aspects of life, and this means that the tourism industry must be viewed as an integrated whole with an impact on not just the economy, but also society, culture and the physical environment. This requires consideration of what tourism does to the environment and the quality of life, and how it affects the needs of local people.
8. Policy makers in many Asian and Pacific countries and areas where revenue from international tourists has become a significant source of foreign exchange have designated the tourism sector an engine of economic growth. Policy makers have also been carefully considering strategies and plans that could advance or strengthen the contribution of the tourism sector to more sustainable rapid development.
9. The tourism industry is characterized by a range of various interests held by a number of different stakeholders. In order for the various groups to resolve differences or conflicts, governments must take the lead in fostering cooperation and collaboration. This can be done by ensuring that the integrated, sustainable features of the industry are kept in mind as all stakeholders express their views and interests, and that decisions are made accordingly.
10. Coordination, management and planning by government agencies are prerequisites for creating the modalities to sustain tourism development and ensure that stakeholders keep in view their collective interests. Sustainable tourism development requires direct attention and explicit statements with regard to policies and future plans.
11. However, governments in many countries and areas of Asia and the Pacific may face constraints in meeting these requirements owing to limitations in the financial and human resources necessary to carry out responsibilities for policy-making, planning, coordinating and monitoring in the many areas covered by sustainable tourism development. In the face of these constraints, there are two approaches that might lead to solutions. The first is to encourage greater participation and cooperation with the private sector, and the second is to encourage greater regional and subregional cooperation in sharing experience, facilities and costs.
B. Issues to be addressed
12. The recommendations of various meetings, seminars and workshops, including the Intergovernmental Meeting on Tourism Development, have shown that there is considerable scope for strengthening national capabilities and promoting regional cooperation in achieving sustainable tourism development.
13. The rapid growth of tourism can lead to a number of problems that challenge the effectiveness and efficiency of governments in policy-making, planning and managing sustainable tourism development. Effectiveness and efficiency in this area also depend on the role of the private sector and the scope for private-public sector cooperation.
14. There is a need for a clear mandate from the government to facilitate appropriate roles for the various stakeholders. There is also a need for integrating and coordinating tourism policy-making and planning with the full range of other government agencies, such as those involved in infrastructure, human resources development, environmental management, immigration, border-crossing formalities and social development at the community level.
15. Both substantive and procedural policy issues which influence the strength of national capabilities were considered at the Intergovernmental Meeting on Tourism Development. These policy issues serve as the parameters for the present draft plan of action. Indicated below are some of the major policy issues which need attention.
16. The tourism policy of a country provides the most explicit indication of the governmental approach to sustainable tourism development and the role that all stakeholders in the tourism industry need to play. As part of tourism policy, organizations can be set up which are able to set objectives, formulate plans and implement programmes.
17. Policy makers also need reliable information and good-quality data on a timely basis in order to appreciate the complex and long-term interactions that tourism has to maintain with the rest of the economy. If information or data are lacking, then the importance of the contribution of tourism to sustainable socio-economic development tends to be overlooked.
18. In many countries of Asia and the Pacific, the national tourism organizations do not receive enough resources, and their capabilities therefore remain limited. Tourism policy and the work of the national tourism organization should be able to emphasize the interrelationship that involves a number of concerns related to sustainable tourism development, such as human resources development, the economic impact of tourism, environmental management, infrastructure, travel facilitation and cooperation at the regional or subregional levels.
19. Planning has both policy and operational elements which form part of the process by which the government decides on objectives, sets out the means for achieving the objectives and sets priorities. Policy planning involves the long-term outline of general goals, objectives and directions for sustainable tourism development. Operational planning covers the strategies and procedures to be implemented in order to carry out the policy. Integrated planning also requires reliable and timely information in order to highlight clearly the links between national economic development and the tourism sector.
20. Development of a tourism master plan and introduction of integrated tourism planning are appropriate approaches for sustainable tourism development, because all aspects can be covered in a comprehensive way, including the social, cultural, economic and environmental aspects. A master plan and integrated tourism planning can indicate that the tourism sector is a major part of the national economy and that the planning process will be ongoing and action-oriented in ways that facilitate implementation.
21. Managing sustainable tourism development involves leading, coordinating and controlling in order to bring together all of the resources that will contribute to formulating and implementing the national tourism policy. Administrative issues are also involved as they relate to setting up the structure of a national tourism organization and defining its functions and responsibilities.
22. Leading the development may involve setting up councils or committees at the highest levels of government to underscore the commitment, and being a catalyst for sustainable tourism development. Coordinating may require working with the various stakeholders from the national level to the local level in order to set priorities and create consensus for action. Controlling may include establishing mechanisms, laws and regulations that ensure coherent intersectoral coordination within the government and that will promote broader participation and spread benefits more widely to sustain tourism development.
23. Management can also become more effective if supported by systematic, reliable information. Such information can also play a role leading to greater awareness of the opportunities and benefits that could be derived from cooperation and sharing among countries at the regional and subregional levels.
4. Private sector participation
24. In most Asian and Pacific countries and areas, the private sector is recognized as a major stakeholder since it is largely responsible for providing tourism services. One of the most important issues has been how to attract greater private sector participation, including development of partnership between the public and private sectors. Several other issues concerning the relationship between the public and private sectors involve creating a conducive business environment, providing investment incentives, having an adequate legislative framework and strengthening the capabilities of government officials in formulating projects, setting priorities and negotiating with the private sector.
C. Proposals for action
25. Under the overall framework of strengthening national capabilities and promoting regional cooperation in sustainable tourism development, the plan proposes action at the national level and supporting action at the regional level. In this context, six theme areas have been identified in which specific action is required. The theme areas are: (a) human resources development in the tourism sector; (b) the economic impact of tourism; (c) environmental management of tourism;(d) infrastructure development and investment for the tourism sector; (e) facilitation of travel;and (f) regional and subregional cooperation in tourism development. Some of the action required in each theme area is indicated below.
1. Human resources development in the tourism sector
26. Many countries in Asia and the Pacific face the general problem of lacking strategies and policies for human resources development for tourism. The need to develop the required human resources for the tourism industry has become imperative as a result of the rapid growth of tourism. Some of the specific problems which need to be addressed include: (a) the quantity and quality of human resources which are related to the labour-intensive nature of the industry and the need for a high standard of specialized skills in cross-cultural working environments; (b) the shortage of tourism training infrastructure and qualified trainers in many countries; and (c) the lack of national legislation and guidelines to improve the working conditions in the tourism industry. In this context, the following specific action could be taken:
Action at the national level
(1) Governments should assess present and future training requirements for human resources development.
(2) Governments should consider formulating national strategies for tourism training and human resources development.
(3) Each country should establish a national tourism training committee, consisting of representatives of the government, training institutes and the tourism industry.
(4) Each country should consider participating actively in the activities of the Network of Asia-Pacific Education and Training Institutes in Tourism (APETIT) established by ESCAP in 1997.
(5) Each country should consider setting up a national network of tourism education and training institutes to further strengthen cooperation.
Supporting action at the regional level
ESCAP, the World Tourism Organization (WTO) and other international and regional organizations involved in tourism should extend their full support to ensure the effective operation of APETIT, with a view to promoting human resources development in many countries.
2. Economic impact of tourism
27. The net contribution of tourism to the economy is often not known, beyond a general awareness of the economic benefits, with the result that effective and appropriate policies cannot be made. To overcome this problem, reliable, systematic research on the economic impact of tourism is needed. A realistic assessment of the economic impact can help to make integrated planning easier, strengthen the links between national economic policy-making and sustainable tourism development and enable better understanding of how to enhance the economic benefits from tourism. Countries could also learn how to enhance the economic benefits from tourism by studying each other's experience. In this context, the following action could be taken:
Action at the national level
(1) Countries which have already made studies of the economic impact of tourism should continuously update their data and research, and use these findings in establishing the appropriate role for tourism in the national economy.
(2) Countries which have not yet studied the economic impact of tourism should initiate action to undertake such research and studies, so to be able to establish appropriate policy for tourism development.
Supporting action at the regional level
(1) Seminars and workshops should be organized to strengthen country capabilities to use different methodologies for determining the economic impact, including the WTO global methodology, tourism satellite account; and WTO could provide its expertise in support of country and regional studies.
(2) ESCAP, which prepared Guidelines on Input-output Analysis of Tourism,(1) could assist countries in measuring the economic impact of tourism using the input-output technique, through advisory services or the organization of national workshops.
3. Environmental management of tourism
28. The problems related to the environmental management of tourism development arise from the complex relationship between development and its impact on the environment. The problems of adverse impacts could be tackled through effective planning and coordination of action, enforcement of legislation and governance. Efforts in this respect should include the issues of coordinating strategies at all levels and among many sectors in order to improve welfare, make appropriate use of resources and create awareness of the environmental consequences. Problems with legislation relate to the enforcement of laws, the lack of human resources trained to monitor and enforce the laws and the need for stakeholders to understand that compliance with the law provides long-term benefits that sustain tourism.
29. Government agencies need to give more attention to planning, coordination and monitoring in order to achieve sustainable tourism development that includes protecting and preserving the environment. There is also a need to increase awareness of how the rapid growth of tourism affects the ecology of tourist destinations in many different environments. It thus becomes imperative to find ways to integrate environmental management with tourism development, thereby ensuring more sustainable tourism development. Greater attention may also be required for environments at special risk, such as coastal and marine environments and mountain environments. The problem of sustainability must also be addressed in terms of balancing tourism development with preserving the environment, the cultural heritage and the indigenous culture of local communities. In this context, the following action could be taken:
Action at the national level
(1) Governments should give more attention to the planning, coordination and monitoring of tourism development and environmental management.
(2) Local communities should have greater involvement in environmental management and sustainable tourism development.
(3) Governments should create awareness through the mass media, among the general public and international tourists about protecting and preserving the environment in order to sustain tourism.
(4) Countries should pay particular attention to the development and promotion of ecotourism.
Supporting action at the regional level
(1) Seminars and workshops should be organized in order to facilitate the sharing of experience and information for developing ecotourism.
(2) Technical cooperation among developing countries should be promoted through exchange visits of experts on technical aspects of the environmental management of sustainable tourism development.
4. Infrastructure development and investment for the tourism sector
30. There is a close and dynamic relationship between infrastructure development and sustainable tourism development, because inadequate infrastructure is one of the most serious constraints on future tourism development. To overcome constraints and problems, an integrated planning approach and formulation of master plans should be encouraged. The government should create an environment conducive to private sector investment and provide adequate incentives to that end. In addition, infrastructure requirements for tourism development should be properly integrated with the full range of a country's infrastructure development and investment requirements. To this end, the following action could be taken:
Action at the national level
(1) Governments should indicate their clear commitment to private sector involvement in tourism infrastructure development, and this should form part of integrated plans or a master plan.
(2) In order to attract private sector participation, governments should address such issues as creating a conducive business environment, liberalizing rules and regulations, providing investment incentives, developing an adequate legislative framework and strengthening government capacity to negotiate.
(3) National workshops should be organized to build capabilities among government officials in negotiating techniques and in promoting partnership between the public and private sectors in order to develop tourism and related infrastructure.
Supporting action at the regional level
(1) The World Bank, the Asian Development Bank and other development financing institutions should extend full assistance to tourism infrastructure development.
(2) Seminars and workshops should be organized on tourism infrastructure development and investment involving policy makers, investors, national tourism organizations and other government agencies in order to share experience among countries at different stages of tourism development.
(3) Training workshops should be organized to build capabilities among government officials in negotiating techniques and to promote relationships between the public and private sectors for tourism and related infrastructure development.
5. Facilitation of travel
31. A wide range of travel facilitation problems could impede sustainable tourism development. These problems may include lack of accessibility by air, road, rail and water transport; inefficient policies and procedures for visas, customs and currency; possible threats to the health and safety of tourists; the lack of information services for tourists; a negative image if there is overpricing; shortage of trained people in the government and the tourism industry; and the complex nature of border formalities and customs regulations. Governments have a direct role to play in making policies, rules and regulations and providing infrastructure affecting these factors. To this end, the following action could be taken:
Action at the national level
(1) Each country should set up an interministerial committee or council, including representatives of the tourism industry, to promote coordinated development of tourism and facilitation of travel.
(2) Each country should consider setting up a consultative council comprising the tourism and aviation industries to consider accessibility issues by sharing views and harmonizing divergent interests.
(3) Countries should conduct training programmes for immigration and customs officials to make needed changes and take the required action in order to improve efficiency and courtesy.
(4) Countries should develop national policies on tourism health and safety and provide tourists with appropriate information upon arrival.
Supporting action at the regional level
(1) Regional seminars should be organized to share experience and learn from the best practices within and outside the region.
(2) ESCAP should undertake land transport corridor studies along major routes to identify barriers to tourist travel and suggest remedial measures.
(3) WTO, and other concerned international and regional organizations, should provide information and training on safety, security and health standards for tourists and encourage countries to share experience in developing a multilateral agreement on safety and security standards.
6. Regional and subregional cooperation in tourism development
32. Countries and areas in the region, and different subregions individually, may have limited accessibility, lack resources and/or capabilities or have inadequate arrangements for expanding tourism. Regional and subregional cooperation could help governments and the tourism industry in addressing many problems more effectively by sharing information, facilities, experience and expertise. Such cooperation would promote sustainable tourism development by conserving scarce resources, increasing cultural and economic understanding and increasing the frequency of international contacts and exchange. Regional and subregional cooperation enables countries to learn from each other, share facilities and reduce unnecessary competition. Regional and subregional cooperation to promote tourism could be initiated among the members of different regional and subregional groups, namely, the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC),the Indian Ocean, the Greater Mekong subregion, Bangladesh-India-Myanmar-Sri Lanka-Thailand Economic Cooperation (BIMST-EC), the Tumen River area, the Pacific islands, and among the countries along the Silk Road and the Asian Highway. In this context, the following specific action could be taken:
Action at the national level
(1) Governments should participate actively in the existing cooperative groupings with a view to contributing to regional and subregional tourism development and to benefit from sharing and collaboration.
(2) Governments should take initiatives to strengthen bilateral and multilateral cooperative arrangements for sustainable tourism development and promotion.
Supporting action at the regional level
(1) ESCAP, WTO and other international and regional organizations should make concerted efforts in areas of their special competence to promote regional and subregional cooperation, as well as to strengthen national capabilities in sustainable tourism development.
(2) Some of the mechanisms which could be considered by these agencies in promoting regional and subregional cooperation may include the organization of regional and subregional meetings and seminars and the conduct of studies.
33. The national action and supporting regional action enumerated above provide a clear guide to the specific responses that are part of the action plan. One or more modalities may facilitate the achievement of each action. Governments and regional organizations are encouraged to be innovative and imaginative in preparing approaches which make use of national and regional resources.
34. Effective implementation of the plan of action will require a fundamental review of policy-making, planning, managing and defining private sector participation for the purpose of sustainable tourism development. A number of modalities are presented in order that the consequences of action will be far-reaching in socio-economic and environmental terms. The modalities suggested for the national level are designed to address the far-reaching socio-economic consequences associated with sustainable tourism development.
35. Governments would generally be responsible for action at the national level, while action at the regional level can support and facilitate. Supporting action at the regional level may cover technical assistance; regional research and development, including comparative studies; opportunities to exchange experience and know-how; and cooperation and facilitation of sustainable tourism development activities which are expected to have an impact transcending national borders.
1. National modalities
36. A number of modalities are listed below which could enable implementation of the proposed national action.
(a) Policy coordination committee for sustainable tourism development
37. Collaboration is needed at the highest level at which policy is developed, formulated and coordinated. The primary role of the committee would be to provide a framework for integrated tourism planning or master plans, harmonize strategies and propose consolidation of the resources of various tourism-related ministries and agencies in order to attain sustainable tourism objectives in an efficient way.
(b) Public/private sector consultative committees
38. The private sector, including business enterprises and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), are involved in many areas of sustainable tourism development. Consultative committees are one type of modality enabling the government to maintain constructive dialogue and to have multiple sources of information to help in policy-making, planning and management.
(c) Facilitation committees
39. Sustainable tourism development will require harmonious interactions involving parties from both the public and private sectors who need to work together, even when difficult issues may arise, when the needs of various government ministries may differ and when various short-term objectives may create disagreements. Implementation also requires collaboration among various parties and organizations. Facilitation committees are a type of modality for resolving problems and issues at the working level and contributing to improved productivity and reduction in costs.
(d) Interdisciplinary teams
40. People with specialized fields of expertise and experience are valuable resources and can contribute to sustainable tourism development by virtue of the synergy created by their collaboration. Such interdisciplinary teams can be organized for special, time-bound tasks that will contribute to the process of sustainable tourism development.
(e) Sustainable development zones
41. The creation of such zones in different parts of the country provides opportunities to focus efforts and formulate experimental or pilot projects for sustainable tourism development. Development zones allow for innovative approaches and can serve as an experiment before full implementation.
(f) Demonstration projects for sustainable tourism development
42. Before implementing national-level reforms, demonstration projects at the local and community levels can test reforms of legislation, administration and participation related to sustainable tourism development. This modality would work with small-scale projects and activities and could provide useful information if projects need to be adjusted in order to be successful.
2. Regional modalities
43. A number of modalities can be used at the regional level to play a supportive role or serve as catalyst for the process of sustainable tourism development.
(a) Sharing of information, research and data
44. Information, research and data collected on a regional basis can serve as a foundation for regional cooperation. It should be possible to identify similar types of policies, plans and projects where information exchanges may be useful. Information about educational and training opportunities in all areas of sustainable tourism development could be disseminated throughout the region.
(b) Comparative studies in sustainable tourism development
45. As countries of the region gain valuable experience in the policy-making, planning and management of sustainable tourism development, this experience could provide a worthwhile resource for the region. It is important, however, for comparative studies to be based on thorough and careful evaluation. Where possible, such comparative studies may yield general guidelines based on experience in the region.
(c) Technical cooperation among developing countries
46. A number of countries and areas in the region have had successful experience in the various areas of sustainable tourism development. TCDC is one modality that provides opportunities for sharing experience among developing countries.
(d) Regional and subregional cooperation
47. Given the considerable differences in the levels of socio-economic development reached by countries in the region, it may be possible to find a variety of approaches to sustainable tourism development. This provides a solid basis for regional and subregional cooperation in order to share and compare experience; to provide mutual assistance in human resources development; and to develop regional and subregional policies and plans. Along this line, subregional organizations can provide forums for consultation on policies, plans and issues.
E. Implementation, time-frame and monitoring
48. Coordination and cooperation are the crucial factors for effective implementation of policies, plans and programmes to promote sustainable tourism development at the national level. Such coordination and cooperation are also necessary among international, regional and subregional organizations and agencies which provide assistance to countries, both within and outside the United Nations system.
49. Governments need to set explicit goals and form implementation strategies at the national level in order to carry out the proposals contained in the action plan. Encouraging the participation of the private sector in the implementation process will create opportunities to identify complementarities of experience, expertise and resources.
50. At the regional level, all concerned United Nations agencies and other international and regional organizations should be able to contribute to the implementation of the action plan. Joint efforts by these organizations can mobilize assistance to countries and areas of the region.
51. With regard to the time-frame for implementation of the action plan, it could start with the adoption of the plan by the Commission at its fifty-fifth session in April 1999 and continue up to 2005, that is, covering almost two medium-term plan periods.
52. Inter-agency meetings, ad hoc intergovernmental meetings or legislative committees will provide the opportunity for discussions of regional concerns about issues of sustainable tourism development and keep implementation of the action plan under review. It will also allow redirection as required, so that planned activities and outputs remain relevant to the priority needs of the countries.
53. Specific, measurable indicators of achievement will be developed and consolidated within particular projects in order to facilitate the monitoring process. Detailed progress reports as part of the review reports prepared on infrastructure and tourism will be submitted to the Committee on Transport, Communications, Tourism and Infrastructure Development once every two years. When presenting progress reports, countries will be invited to inform the Committee about progress with regard to national action. There will also be a consolidated report on activities and outputs produced under the regional programme.
F. Strategies for resource mobilization
54. The scale and coverage of the action plan would start with a thorough examination of current practices. Such an examination would help in the implementation of far-reaching proposals for action designed to strengthen national capacity for sustaining tourism development. In this connection, the tourism sector could thus play a more effective role in national development. The potential benefits from the action designed to achieve sustainable tourism development would justify the resources needed to achieve a new type of socio-economic development.
55. Traditional and non-traditional resources must be mobilized to support the proposals for action at the national and regional levels. Many countries will have to try to mobilize domestic savings, and this effort will encourage support from potential donors, both domestic and international.
56. Extensive resources already exist in the Asian and Pacific region in terms of expertise and experience which could be employed to strengthen national capacity in sustainable tourism development. TCDC could lead to sharing a great number of these resources. The private sector can have a significant role in sharing expertise as well as providing financial resources, and should be encouraged in a wide range of projects.
57. Many countries will require considerable assistance from national resources, public and private sector support and assistance from international, regional and subregional agencies as well as donor governments. Among the countries that may require such assistance are those classified as least developed, landlocked and island developing countries and economies in transition.
58. Concerned donor agencies and countries need to give special attention to providing financial and technical assistance in order to implement the programmes and projects that are part of the action plan. At the same time, high priority support for implementation of the action plan must be insisted upon in national, bilateral and regional forums. Finally, support for the action plan on sustainable tourism development will be forthcoming if progress in implementation is demonstrated at the national and regional levels.
II. ISSUES FOR CONSIDERATION BY THE COMMISSION
59. The Commission is invited to consider and adopt the plan of action for sustainable tourism development in the Asian and Pacific region, as contained in this document, which was endorsed by the Committee on Transport, Communications, Tourism and Infrastructure Development, at its first session held at Bangkok in November 1998.