The two-day World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) Global Summit 2017 begins in Bangkok today, making Thailand the first country in Southeast Asia to host the annual event. (Pix by ZALINA MOHD SOM)

BANGKOK: The two-day World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) Global Summit 2017 begins in Bangkok today, making Thailand the first country in Southeast Asia to host the annual event.

Hosted by the Ministry of Tourism and Sports and the Tourism Authority of Thailand, it is the 17th summit by the WTTC.

Former British Prime Minister David Cameron led the summit’s programme with his keynote address on ‘Altered States – Has globalisation had its days?’.

Cameron's address came after the opening remarks by Thai Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha, WTTC chairman Gerald Lawless, World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) secretary general Taleb Rifai and WTTC chairman David Scowsill.

Tomorrow, Deputy Minister of Tourism and Culture Datuk Mas Ermieyati Samsudin will participate in a panel discussion titled ‘The Freedom to Travel – Can Asean countries lead the way?’, a keynote address to be presented by Thailand Minister of Tourism and Sports Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul.

Together with her will be Indonesian Tourism Minister Arief Yahya, the Philippines secretary of Tourism Wanda Corazon Teo and International Civil Aviation Organisation Asia & Pacific office regional director Arun Mishra.

In the second half of the day, AirAsia chief executive officer Tan Sri Tony Fernandes will talk on responsible and responsive leadership and be one of the panelists at a Meet The Experts session.

Going with the theme "Transforming our World", the summit's 17th edition is set to be the flagship event of the 2017 International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development with its programmes designed to look at the transformative power of tourism and the impact.

Later tonight, his deputy General Tanasak Patimapragorn will preside a gala dinner specially designed to showcase some of the Unique Local Thai Experiences, the country's tourism campaign.

The event is attended by 800 of the world's most senior executives from travel and tourism's public and private sectors which include ministers from 13 nations.

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