Chengdu endorses Belt and Road initiative

Authors: China Daily

2017-10-30

The 22nd General Assembly of the United Nations World Tourism Organization, held in Chengdu in September, endorsed the Chengdu Initiative on Tourism Cooperation along the Belt and Road.
It 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.
The Chengdu initiative also calls for joint tourism promotion and increased exchanges in tourism education. Members are encouraged to deal with common challenges and risks and enhance coordination and cooperation.
Taleb Rifai, secretary-general of the tourism organization, has focused on developing tourism along the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road during his term.
Rifai proposed the concept of Silk Road tourism 23 years ago.
The timing is perfect for the Belt and Road Initiative, proposed by China in 2013. It enables the ancient Silk Road to have a new lease on life and increases international economic and people-to-people exchanges, thus gaining wide acceptance among the countries and regions involved in the initiative, he said.
Zurab Pololikashvili, who was elected as the new UNWTO chief for the 2018-21 period at the Chengdu assembly, said he agrees with tourism collaboration taking place under the Belt and Road framework.
The initiative helps to combine diverse cultures and draw the countries and regions involved closer together, Pololikashvili said.
Li Jinzao, head of the China National Tourism Administration, said, "It is significant that the United Nationals World Tourism General Assembly was hosted in Chengdu, the start of the southern Silk Road."
Under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative, China has signed agreements with more than 60 countries and international organizations.
The Belt and Road links major tourist sources and destinations worldwide. Economies related to the initiative contribute more than 70 percent to the global tourism industry, he said.
As the Belt and Road construction is advancing, related countries and regions will see increasingly enhanced policy communication, improved infrastructure connectivity, rising non-barrier trade, higher capital flows and closer cultural ties, Li said.
The China National Tourism Administration has forecast that Chinese outbound visits will reach 700 million over the next five years. Li said he has confidence in the country that it will also be able to attract 700 million visits from abroad during the period.
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