Chengdu emerging as industrial leader on global tourism landscape

Authors: China Daily

2017-10-24

Since the 22nd Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations World Tourism Organization was held in Chengdu, in September, the host city has become the focus of the global tourism sphere.
The event witnessed the appointment of UNWTO's new chief, Zurab Pololikashvili, for the 2018-21 term; the release of the Chengdu Initiative on Tourism Cooperation along the Belt and Road; and the founding of the World Tourism Alliance.
As the highest-level conference in the global tourism industry, the event attracted delegates from 137 countries and regions, as well as 41 international organizations.
It was the first time that the UNWTO general assembly had been held in western China.
Chengdu is possibly the most energetic and most passionate city in China, Rifai said. China's status has been rising in the international community in recent years, and its influence has increased in the global tourism sector, he added.
As a result, when China proposed hosting the event, UNWTO member countries agreed unanimously.
Chengdu was chosen both on the recommendation of the China National Tourism Administration and for the city's unique charm, Rifai said.
Pololikashvili said he expects UNWTO to hold another large event in Chengdu soon, under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative.
During this year's UNWTO general assembly, the Chengdu Initiative on Tourism Cooperation along the Belt and Road was made public at a tourism ministers' meeting.
The Chengdu initiative aims to help countries and regions involved in the Belt and Road Initiative to work together more closely in tourism by increasing policy-related communication, facilitating travel, creating a new cooperation mechanism and improving the quality of exchanges.
Rifai said the Silk Road played a key role in promoting people-to-people exchanges and cooperation in ancient times.
He added the Belt and Road Initiative has given it a new lease on life and increased international tourism and cultural exchanges.
Li Jinzao, head of the China National Tourism Administration, said increased cooperation under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative has helped to tap into potential tourism resources in various countries and has improved the influence of tourist destinations.
Li forecast Chinese outbound visits will reach 700 million over the next five years. The top Chinese tourism official said he also has confidence that the country will be able to attract 700 million visits from abroad during that period.
UNWTO and Sichuan province have a long-standing, deep bond.
Back in 1998, the international organization sent a group of experts to the province. They helped Sichuan to formulate China's first provincial- level tourism development initiative. The plan still guides its tourism growth today.
Chengdu was recognized as one of China's best tourism cities in 2016 by the China National Tourism Administration and UNWTO.
The city also serves as one of UNWTO's observation locations for research into sustainable tourism development.
(source: www.chinadaily.com.cn, October23, 2017)

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