Acknowledging the immense potential for growth in the tourism sector, Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy said Hyderabad is “the best city to hold international conferences” Union minister for tourism K. Chiranjeevi, meanwhile added that the huge demand for tourism must be met in a sustainable way. They were speaking at the inaugural ceremony of the twin conferences — The 25th joint meeting of the UNWTO commissions for East Asia and Pacific, as well as South Asia and the UNWTO conference on Sustainable Tourism Development — that began in the city on Friday. The conference is expected identify key areas for triggering massive tourism growth for Andhra Pradesh. “The year 2012 was a historical year which saw 1035 million people crossing international borders. While the tourism sector saw a growth of 4 per cent, the Asian region saw a growth of 7 per cent and accounted for 25 per cent of the total world traffic,” said secretary-general of UNWTO Taleb Rifai.
The official predicted a growth of 3.5 to 4 per cent for the tourism sector worldwide and a growth of 54 per cent for the Asian region. “Such a huge activity leaves imprints and that is the biggest challenge in front of us. More growth must mean more sustainability,” he added. Chiranjeevi also said that India is one of the first countries to have developed guidelines for sustainable tourism and hotel classification that encourage eco-friendly practices.