AICST was established in mid-2002 by the APEC Tourism Working Group (TWG) and the Tourism Ministers of the 21 economies of APEC. The APEC economies are: Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, People's Republic of China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Chinese Taipei, Thailand, United States and Vietnam.
AICST's role is to provide information and assistance to the APEC Economies and destinations to improve tourism sustainability throughout the region.
AICST aims to:
- Contribute to improved planning and management of tourism
- Assist better policy development by governments
- Increase capabilities and capacities
- Foster improved tourism education and training
- Promote international understanding of different races, cultures and beliefs
The main objectives are:
- To facilitate collaborative research projects of regional & national significance which will expand knowledge & build capacities, capabilities & sustainability; & to facilitate & encourage the application of research outcomes by government & industry.
- To coordinate the delivery of services within the APEC region to improve the sustainability of tourism destinations
- To enhance the presentation & dissemination of travel & tourism information
- To enhance education & training capacities for tourism & travel
AICST can identify & research major issues that are likely to impact on tourism in the Asia Pacific region, in the next 10-15 years. These issues include climate change, transport & aviation; infrastructure development; planning & design; communication & information technology; environmental, economic, social & cultural impacts & tourism management. AICST aims are to supplement work that is currently being undertaken by other organisations or any single APEC Economy.
Managing Tourism in Destinations
AICST has access to the skills, knowledge & experience to deliver knowledge and services to destinations to improve sustainability & the way tourism is managed. A framework for managing tourism called “Total Tourism Management” (TTM) has been developed; which recognises the economic, environmental & social/cultural benefits & opportunities from tourism activities. TTM includes best-practice planning & management systems & enables local teams of government, industry & academic representatives to improve management practices.
AICST operates with the support of APEC economies (Ministries of Tourism & the like), national tourism organisations, tourism research organisations & universities. It is an ‘on demand’ resource for the APEC TWG. The APEC TWG & AICST identify & prioritise issues & agree on direction & implementation. Research, & the coordination & provision of tourism services are undertaken on a collaborative basis using skills & knowledge from around the region, with financial support from beneficial parties. This approach is designed to increase the sustainable tourism management capacities & capabilities of government officials, industry professionals & academics in developing economies.
AICST is a non-profit organisation. It operates collaboratively for the benefit of all APEC economies and/or individual economies. AICST sources funding for research & other projects from within & outside of APEC, through strategic partnerships with governments, national & international institutions, corporations & development agencies.