Reboot of China’s tourism brings hope to the world

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A conference was held Saturday in Beijing during the 2020 China International Fair for Trade in Services (CIFTIS) to provide support for global tourism professionals in reviving the industry.

The World Conference on Tourism Cooperation and Development is an important meeting which promotes multilateral cooperation, bolsters global tourism and enhances the influence of 2020 CIFTIS amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the most serious global public health crisis after World War II.

Tourism has been “one of the most affected sectors of the economy due to the pandemic,” according to Vladimir Norov, secretary-general of Shanghai Cooperation Organization.

Gloria Guevara, president and CEO of the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), shared data to illustrate the seriousness of the situation. “Travel and tourism contribute 330 million jobs around the world. According to our latest research from June, 121 million jobs have been impacted and there are $3.4 trillion tourism GDP losses to the world economy so far.”

However, China has led the way in controlling the spread of the virus and its national economy is gradually reopening, said Zurab Pololikashvili, secretary-general of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). “The lifting of travel restrictions gives hope to millions of people — both in China and worldwide.”

As one of four summit forums during the 2020 CIFTIS, the World Conference on Tourism Cooperation and Development hosted by the World Tourism Cities Federation (WTCF) was held at the China National Convention Center. The theme of the conference was “Rebuilding World Tourism for Prosperity.”

Hu Heping, Minister of Culture and Tourism of China, stated that China is willing to deepen cooperation and share its experiences with other countries to jointly promote the successful development of the industry.

The minister pointed out that the development of world tourism amid the COVID-19 pandemic was studied and discussed during the conference, which fully demonstrates the determination of the global tourism industry to overcome difficulties together. The conference brings together global wisdom, experience and power, and promotes the restoration, revitalization and prosperity of the sector.

Hu shared China’s main practices in promoting the recovery and development of tourism amid pandemic controls, such as effective anti-virus and stimulus measures for the industry.

Chen Jining, chairman of the WTCF Council and mayor of Beijing, believes that tourism is a resilient and comprehensive industry, while the occurrence of large-scale pandemics often leads to major changes in tourism and related services. “The COVID-19 pandemic has not changed people’s love for tourism, but it has given rise to a new model of decentralized, personalized, customized and reservation-based tourism, bringing new opportunities for the rebuilding of tourism and economic recovery.”

Chang Yang, vice president of Alibaba Group, concluded that the major effects of the worldwide pandemic have been an acceleration of digitalization, growth in new business models, and changes in consumption capacity. From his perspective, further improvements in, and new driving forces for, the development of the tourism industry are needed to accelerate its recovery.

Taking Alibaba’s practical experience as an example, Chang focused on three major aspects driving new growth in the tourism industry: intellectual property, digitalization and green development. “We hope to utilize commercial infrastructure established over the past two decades, connect with users, provide stronger incentives for world travel, and present culture using technology in order to aid in its revitalization,” he said.

Later, Chen Dong, secretary-general of the WTCF and director-general of the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Culture and Tourism, released the Action Guide on Recovery and Revitalization of City Tourism Amid COVID-19. In addition, contracts for 21 projects valued at a total of over 15 billion yuan were signed at the Tourism Investment and Financing Conference.

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