The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) free trade agreement will reshape the global tourism development pattern and help build the world’s largest tourism economic community, according to a report released by the International Mountain Tourism Alliance and the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) on Saturday.
The RCEP has 15 members: the 10 Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member states, plus China, Japan, the Republic of Korea (ROK), Australia and New Zealand. The RCEP agreement was signed in November 2020 and entered into force on Jan. 1, 2022, with the aim of gradually eliminating tariffs on over 90 percent of goods traded among its members.
According to Jin Zhun, secretary general of the CASS tourism research center, open and sound international economic and trade relations will help optimize the regional market environment, boost economic and cultural exchanges, and link the tourism supply and demand in different countries.
The report shows that in 2019, RCEP countries received a total of 398 million overseas tourists and had 260 million outbound tourists, respectively accounting for 29 percent and 24 percent of the global totals.
RCEP countries are major sources of tourists between themselves, the report said. For example, eight of the top 10 inbound tourist sources for Myanmar and the ROK are RCEP countries.
The report noted that in RCEP countries, mountainous areas account for more than half of all land areas and constitute core tourism spaces. These countries boast 46 mountainous UNESCO World Heritage Sites and provide huge space for the development of mountain tourism.
“The RCEP will promote a stronger tourism economic cycle, and its member countries will develop into important international tourist destinations with more than one-third of international tourist flows and consumption,” Jin said.