Volume 20:

Domestic Tourism in Asia: Restart and Long-term Strategies

8 May 2021 

With COVID-19 vaccination becoming available worldwide, the light at the end of this tunnel is getting stronger. The tourism industry has started tuning up its production engines, preparing for better days ahead. But for how long can tourism business be held at its present stand-still position? Can the bouncing back of domestic tourism become a quick fix for the inbound tourism crisis? Should a more balanced strategy be advocated in the post-pandemic time?
In the past, tourism activities were divided into inbound, outbound, and domestic tourism. The COVID19 pandemic has given rise to new prospects, with domestic tourism as the one to take the lead. This panel discussion will establish that the earlier view on domestic tourism under represented its true popularity and magnitude; offer insight on domestic tourism as an effective tool for recovery; and suggest policies to boost domestic tourism as a long term national and international strategy, with audience adding their views during the Q/A period.

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Xu Jing -  Moderator

Xu Jing

Mr. Xu Jing is a former regional director of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and an independent tourism specialist on Asia based in Madrid. At present, he is Vice Chairman of the Global Tourism Economy Research Centre (Macau), a member of the Mekong Tourism Advisory Group and sits on the expert committee of the International Mountain Tourism Alliance. 

Xu Jing began his career in tourism at the China National Tourism Administration where he was in charge of international relations. He joined the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) in 1992. Over the years, his areas of responsibilities included the preparation and the organisation of most UNWTO’s technical and institutional activities in Asia and the Pacific. He served as Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific of UNWTO from Dec 2003 to Jan 2020. In addition to his regional responsibilities, he had worked as UNWTO’s Executive Secretary of the General Assembly and the Executive Council from Jan 2014 to Dec 2017. Xu Jing holds a Master Degree in Tourism Management from the University of Surrey, United Kingdom and majored in English language and literature in the Beijing International Studies University of China

Ong Hong Peng
Ong Hong -  Panelist

Ong Hong

Prior to retirement, Dr. Ong Hong Peng served as Secretary General, Ministry of Tourism and Culture, Malaysia for eight years. He also served as Chairman of UNWTO Regional Commission for East Asia and the Pacific (2011-2013) and Head of National Tourism Organisation (NTO), Malaysia (2008 -2016). As Head of NTO, Dr. Ong contributed towards the formulation of the ASEAN Tourism Strategic Plan 2011-2015, ASEAN Tourism Strategic Plan 2016 – 2025 and ASEAN Socio-cultural Community Blueprint 2025.Currently, Dr. Ong is a freelance consultant and was involved in a number of projects such as International Rural Tourism Development Study, Tourism Planning and Development Study of Ziyuan County, National Tourism Policy Study of Malaysia Pangkor Island Strategic Plan. He holds a Masters in Economics from Hiroshima University, Japan and Ph.D. in Economics from Michigan State University, USA.

Madan Prasad Bezbaruah
Madan Prasad Bezbaruah -  Panelist

Madan Prasad Bezbaruah

Mr. Madan Prasad Bezbaruah, retired as the Secretary, Ministry of Tourism, Government of India. After retirement he served as Banking Ombudsman for the Reserve Bank of India and also as Member, North Eastern Council (in the rank of Minister of State).

The World Tourism Organization appointed him as Honorary Permanent Representative “in recognition of the valuable contribution made to the development of tourism”. He served for several years as member of the Strategic Group of UN-WTO and was Chairman of the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA).

He has authored the report on Indian Outbound Tourism for UN-WTO, and SASEC Regional Tourism for ADB. He was National Consultant of ADB’s SASEC Tourism Development Project, phase I and II, and UN-WTO’s project on Development of Coastal Tourism in the states of West Bengal and Orissa.

Mr. Bezbaruah has written three books- ‘Indian Tourism: Beyond the Millennium”, “The Guest is God-Reflections on Tourism” and “Frontiers of New Tourism” and is the Chief Editor of five-volume encyclopedia- “Fairs and Festivals of India.” He secured a first-class master’s degree in economics from the Delhi School of Economics and the Master of Public Administration degree from Harvard University, USA.


Li Hong
Li Hong -  Panelist

Li Hong


Mr. Li Hong is a former Director General of the Hangzhou Municipal Tourism Commission, Zhejiang Province of China, who retired at the end of 2018. During his position as head of tourism under the Municipal Government of Hangzhou from 2004 to 2018, he endeavored, together with his team, to make the city of Hangzhou one of the best tourism destinations for both domestic and international tourists. This was evidenced by the fact that Hangzhou was awarded as the Best Tourism City of China 2006 jointly by UNWTO and China National Tourism Administration (CNTA). At present, Li Hong serves as a specialist on the Specialists Board of China Tourism Group (CTG), an expert member of the Think Tank of Cultural & Tourism of Zhejiang Province and an adviser to the Government of Hangzhou Municipality.  In addition, as guest professor, he regularly lectures in various training programs conducted in universities and colleges for tourism professionals from governmental departments as well as from industries.

Junichi (Jack) Kumada
Junichi (Jack) Kumada -  Panelist

Junichi (Jack) Kumada

Junichi (Jack) Kumada joined JTB Corp in 1992, following his graduation from Meiji University. His work experience at JTB Corp is intensively focusing on the Japan Inbound Tour operation especially for English Speaking market (mainly USA, CANADA, New Zealand and Australia) and B2C online travel Web site. He dedicated himself to establish JTB Japan Inbound B2C Web site “JAPANiCAN.com” as one of the founder.
He was also working at United Nations World Tourism Organizations as the senior officer at Regional Programme for Asia and the Pacific to assist the member states and the UNWTO affiliate members in Asia and the Pacific region from 2014 to 2017. Now, he has been assigned as Chief Research Office since April 2017 in Tokyo.

Gary Bowerman-2
Gary Bowerman-  Panelist

Gary Bowerman

Gary Bowerman, Asia Travel & Consumer Trends Analyst and Director of Check-in Asia, KL, Malaysia

Gary Bowerman is Director of Check-in Asia, a travel intelligence and strategic marketing firm with bases in Hong Kong, Shanghai and Kuala Lumpur. He co-hosts The South East Asia Travel Show, founded Asia Pacific Travel & Tourism Report and is author of The New Chinese Traveler: Business Opportunities from the Chinese Travel Revolution, published in 2014. A member of the Mekong Tourism Advisory Group, Gary has worked with leading hotel groups, tourism boards, OTAs and travel organisations, and produced White Papers on the travel economies of South East Asia, Australia, China, India, Japan, Myanmar, Malaysia, Laos and Macau. A regular media commentator on Asian travel economics and consumer trends, Gary has spoken at various travel industry conferences and webinars, including events in Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Beijing, Shanghai, London and Madrid.





  • Welcome remarks

    Kazem Vafadari, Deputy Curator of SCo̲T – Division Head, Tourism and Hospitality Graduate School of Asia Pacific Studies, Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University, Beppu, Japan

  • Introduction on Domestic Tourism

    Jafar Jafari, Curator of SCo̲T – University of Wisconsin-Stout, USA; Founding Editor of Annals of Tourism Research

  • Presentations by speakers/panelists

    Xu Jing, moderator – Vice Chairman of Global Tourism Economy Research Centre (GTERC) and former Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific, UNWTO

  • Ong Hong Peng, Former Secretary-General, Ministry of Tourism and Culture, Malaysia

  • Madan Prasad Bezbaruah – Former Secretary, Ministry of Tourism, India

  • Li Hong – Former Director General, Hangzhou Municipal Tourism Commission, Zhejiang Province, China

  • Junichi (Jack) Kumada – Executive Director & Chief Research Officer, Head of Global Tourism Agenda, JTB Tourism Research & Consulting Co. Tokyo, Japan

  • Gary Bowerman – Asia Travel & Consumer Trends Analyst and Director of Check-in Asia, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

  • Cultural break

  • Discussion among panelists and audience

  • Conclusion



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