In a recent report jointly released by the International Mountain Tourism Alliance and the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), it is highlighted that the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) free trade agreement is set to reshape the global tourism landscape, ultimately paving the way for the creation of the world’s most extensive tourism economic community.
Comprising 15 member nations, the RCEP encompasses the ten Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member states, along with China, Japan, the Republic of Korea (ROK), Australia, and New Zealand. This landmark agreement, inked in November 2020 and activated on January 1, 2022, has a core objective of progressively eliminating tariffs on more than 90 percent of traded goods among its member nations.
According to Jin Zhun, the Secretary-General of the CASS Tourism Research Center, fostering open and robust international economic and trade relationships will lead to a more optimized regional market environment. It will also stimulate economic and cultural exchanges, establishing crucial connections between the supply and demand facets of tourism across diverse countries.
The report unveils that in 2019, the RCEP nations collectively welcomed a staggering 398 million international tourists while contributing 260 million outbound tourists. These numbers represent a substantial 29 percent and 24 percent of the global figures, respectively.
Furthermore, the report underscores that RCEP member countries are significant sources of tourists for each other. For instance, eight out of the top ten countries sending tourists to Myanmar and the ROK are RCEP nations.
It is noteworthy that mountainous regions constitute over half of the total land area in RCEP countries, constituting the core of their tourism offerings. Within these nations, there are a remarkable 46 mountainous areas designated as UNESCO World Heritage Sites, offering enormous potential for the development of mountain tourism.
Jin elaborated on the transformative potential of RCEP, stating that it will stimulate a more robust tourism economic cycle. He anticipates that member countries will evolve into crucial international tourist destinations, attracting over one-third of the world’s international tourist traffic and consumption.
In summary, the RCEP is poised to revolutionize the global tourism industry, fostering deeper economic ties and cultural exchanges among its member nations. This will undoubtedly position these countries as vital hubs in the international tourism landscape, solidifying their status as premier global destinations.