22nd Session of UNWTO General Assembly Video Address
Chairman of China National Tourism Administration
Warm greetings to all of you.
Autumn is a good season of harvest and for meeting with each other. In this September of Autumn, we will reap our harvest after dedicated preparation as the 22nd UNWTO General Assembly is to open in Chengdu, China. It will be the first time for this biennial top tourism event to be held in western China. Here on behalf of China National Tourism Administration and the Chinese tourism community, I’d like to extend warm welcome to all the delegates from UNWTO member states and its Secretariat, and to express my heartfelt appreciation for your full trust in China.
Around the globe, tourism, as a sunrise industry, is exerting increasingly strong vitality and social influence, becoming a significant drive for economic development. It contributes to more than 10% of both the global economy and social employment. Recent years have seen a strong China’s tourism industry on rapid rise and a 30% or higher annual growth rate of investment in China’s tourism sector. In 2016, China’s tourism revenue came up by 13.6%, and the compounded contribution of China’s tourism to its national economy came to 11%.
In recent years, China has been the biggest source of outbound tourists and fourth biggest inbound tourism market. According to the latest release of World Economic Forum, China is now ranked 15th by tourism competitiveness in the world. It is growing quickly into the biggest tourism market in the 21st century and making even bigger contribution to the global tourism development. The golden period of development for China’s tourism brings about more business opportunities to the world. Meanwhile, it is imperative for China to strengthen tourism cooperation and communication with the rest of the world to achieve win-win benefits and integrated development. China highly values and is ready to learn from the experience of other countries in developing tourism. Last May, the Chinese government and the UNWTO successfully held the First World Conference on Tourism for Development in Beijing. This year, the UNWTO General Assembly is to open in China. All these efforts demonstrate the importance that China attaches to strengthening tourism cooperation with other countries in the world and the increasing integration of its role into the world tourism community.
More and more countries come to embrace the Belt and Road initiative proposed by President Xi Jinping, of which tourism plays an important role. I’m pleased to tell you Secretary-General Taleb Rifai and I both believe that it’s quite necessary to hold the Belt and Road Tourism Ministers Roundtable during this session of General Assembly, so as to implement the Belt and Road Initiative, and to discuss the establishment of the Belt and Road Tourism Cooperation Community. We hope our proposal will be well received by all the member states.
Aesop, an ancient Greek philosopher once said: Individually, you can easily be conquered, but together, you are invincible. The Chinese delegation is sincerely expecting to exchange views on global tourism development with our counterparts from all over the world. With the support from UNWTO, together we will promote integrated development of global tourism and bring more benefits to our peoples.
I look forward to receiving you in China this September, in the hometown of pandas-- the city of Chengdu.