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One third of the global economy and almost half of the world's population are involved: In Bangkok, 16 Asian countries are negotiating the world's largest free trade agreement. The initiative came from China.
Thailand's Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha (2nd from left) receives trading partner in Bangkok

The negotiations should be concluded "later this year" to boost economic growth, trade and investment, "said Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha at the inauguration of the annual Southeast Asian Nations Association (ASEAN) Summit in Bangkok. The free trade agreement involves the ten member states of ASEAN and six other countries - China, Japan, India, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand. Their heads of state and government will not attend a meeting on Monday until Monday.

Idea from Beijing

The agreement would include a space of more than three billion people and a $ 17 trillion economic power. This corresponds to around 40 percent of world trade. China had proposed the trade partnership and wanted to build a counterbalance to the trade agreement TPP. The "Transpacific Partnership" (TPP) is owned by eleven states on various continents, including Australia, Chile and Canada. The US also originally wanted to participate. A few days after taking office, US President Donald Trump announced the agreement in 2017 but on.
As a result, the Southeast Asian states of ASEAN intensified their work on a separate agreement and are now in the final stages of the negotiations. The agreement could be signed in February 2020, a spokeswoman for the Thai government said.
Thailand ASEAN Summit (picture-alliance / AP / S.Lalit)
The ASEAN group comprises ten states in Southeast Asia
Another topic on the agenda in Bangkok is the territorial dispute in the South China Sea . The Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan claim parts of the South China Sea, while Beijing occupies almost the entire maritime region. The regional bloc has worked with China to develop a non-aggression agreement or code of conduct. "We are ready to work with ASEAN countries and build on the existing foundations and foundations to maintain long-term peace and stability in the South China Sea," said Chinese PM Li Keqiang to ASEAN leaders in Bangkok.

Climate change affects Southeast Asia particularly strongly

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres traveled as a guest to the summit in Bangkok and appealed to the world to get out of coal because of the climate crisis of energy. "I have been working hard to make more progress on carbon pricing and to make sure that there are no new coal-fired power plants by 2020," Guterres said. It should not continue to use trillions of taxpayer money as subsidies for fossil fuels, he said with a view to climate change. This only leads to more cyclones, tropical diseases and conflicts.
Thailand Asean Summit l UN General Secretary Guterres (picture alliance / dpa / AP / A. Rahi)
UN Secretary-General António Guterres: "It takes concrete measures"
He was particularly worried about the effects of the many coal-fired power plants that would be rebuilt in some parts of the world, such as in East, South and Southeast Asia, Guterres said. At the same time, developed countries would also have to help developing countries to emit less harmful gases. It needs concrete measures.

Already the day before, Guterres had said that the world's dependence on coal remains a major threat to climate change and that countries in the ASEAN region are particularly vulnerable. In the region a lot of energy is gained from coal. A recent report released by the UN states that sea levels are likely to rise faster than expected because of climate change. Therefore, several Asian cities are threatened by flooding in the future.
The Tourism Summit will be held in Berlin on Monday: the motto "Tourism in Times of (Climate) Change" will engage representatives of politics and business. In the thick of it, though not there: climate activist Greta Thunberg.
The summit and the spirit of Greta

When the Swedish student and initiator of the "Fridays for Future" campaign Greta Thunberg did not board the plane for a trip to America, but instead sailed on a sailboat across the Atlantic, the issue of "emission-free travel" took on a very broad public discussion one.
It also reached the tourism industry, whose business consists of transporting many people over great distances. For example, at this year's 22nd Berlin Tourism Summit, climate change is not the focus of attention.

Flying shame is for the time being a question of faith

After Greta Thunberg, like her Viking ancestors, set out on a sailboat towards America around 1000 years ago , news came from Sweden that more and more people also wanted to do without flying. And, of course, there was a media-friendly buzzword right away: flying ash .
Atlantic crossing of climate activist Greta Thunberg (picture-alliance / dpa / K. Wigglesworth)
"Sailor" Greta Thunberg. Although not in Berlin at all, it determines the agenda of the tourism summit.
But whether they really exist is controversial. Also Torsten Schäfer is not sure. Schäfer is Head of Communications at the German Travel Association (DRV). The industry association represents the interests of travel companies, among others, towards politics. In any case, he said to DW, the mooring to numbers, because "to judge it is still too early."
According to Schäfer, the industry reckons on a larger scale: "Most Germans book their annual leave long in advance, which has not played a major role in the bookings for this year." Only in the next year or the year after next you can prove the flying shame with numbers - or not.
Air France Airline Director-General Anne Rigail also said in an interview with Le Parisien newspaper on 1 October that she was unable to confirm reports of the effects of the flight ash . The current decline in bookings is "not high enough" to be able to determine clear causes.

It will continue to flow

A media report suggests, however, that there is currently at least in Germany no flying ash. On 9 October, the "Rheinische Post" reported that the number of air passengers in Germany had risen further. That would have resulted in air traffic data from the Federal Statistical Office.
Accordingly, there has been an increase in passenger numbers in German air traffic every month since August 2018 compared to the corresponding month of the previous year. In the twelve months from August 2018 to July 2019, about 125.1 million flight passengers started from Germany. In the twelve months from August 2017 to July 2018 it was 119.4 million.

The demands on politics

The president of the German Tourism Association, Michael Frenzel , had called for "fair competition conditions" at last year's tourism summit last November. Traditional companies would often still have stricter requirements than digital competitors. The classic travel agency business is falling behind the providers on the Internet more and more behind.
The industry has also long been relieved of politics , such as bureaucracy and labor law. It demands a flexibilization of the working time laws. The rigid daily maximum working time in the working time law is not up to date, Frenzel had already complained at the 21st Tourism Summit.
Spain Tourists in Valencia (picture alliance / dpa / epa / M. Bruque)
The bread business of the tour operators: summer, sun, beach and quite a lot of tourists.

Tourism as an economic factor - and globally

The DRV warns in the words of Torsten Schäfer on the topic of "climate change". For "the abandonment of travel as a basic freedom" is not a solution from the point of view of tour operators: we all profit from tourism, we all want to go on holiday, we want to explore the world. "
Radical solutions would not only jeopardize jobs in Germany - according to the industry association, there were around three million jobs in tourism. Jobs and livelihoods are also in danger globally: "Some countries are dependent on tourism, and if this sector of industry would break away, many people's livelihood would disappear."
DRV press spokesman Torsten Schäfer points out a number that is to prove the importance of the industry: "15 German travelers, for example, support a job in developing and emerging countries."

The customer is required

The German travel association sees not only the legislature demanded, he also takes the customer into the obligation. He has to "make sure that you fly climate-friendly." You can choose the airlines that they use new aircraft, you can make sure that the hotel operates according to certain standards that it is rated as sustainable. "
In any case, the travel industry, says Torsten Schäfer, is sensitized to the topic "Tourism in times of (climate) change". After all, radical climate change could even destroy the industry's business foundation. Because, says Torsten Schäfer: "An intact environment is vital for us all and it is also the basis of the economy for the tourism industry."
Torsten Schäfer suggests that there is still a lot to do for the tour operators, as he talks about the importance of climate change for his industry: "People's awareness is there, but concrete demand is not as pronounced as this also applies to offers of travel agencies. "