World Tourism Cities Federation: New Vigour for Tourism Industry
Members of the World Tourism Cities Federations aim to display the federation’s advantages in organisation and its role as a platform and support for the Belt and Road Initiative.
Travel, that unique path of entertainment, exploration and discovery, is also an industry that fosters foreign exchange and economic development. To boost the appeal of tourism cities and promote development of tourism cities and regional socioeconomic development, the World Tourism Cities Federation was founded in Beijing in 2012.
For five years, it has served as a cooperation platform for tourism cities by hosting activities, improving services and doing academic research, and injected energy into the world tourism industry. It actively participated in the Belt and Road Initiative and put forward the vision to construct the “One Belt One Road” Tourism Corridor and City Hub at the Asia-pacific Tourism Conference in Penang, Malaysia in March 2017. It has contributed to the development of the tourism cities along the Belt and Road.
Setting up an Exchange Platform for Tourism Cities
The tourism industry currently has achieved rapid development and it has become an impetus for promoting economic growth and employment. According to a survey of WTTC ( World Travel and Tourism Council), the tourism industry created a revenue of US$7.6 trillion worldwide, accounting for 10.2
percent of the world's total GDP.
To promote communications among tourist cities and institutions and sustainable tourism growth of the tourism industry, the World Tourism Cities Federation was founded in Beijing on September 15, 2012. It was initiated by Beijing and has incorporated numerous world-renowned tourism cities, such as Berlin, Barcelona, and Los Angeles, becoming the first city-based international tourism organisation in the world.
WTCF has adhered to ideal of “Better City Life through Tourism” and has been committed to increasing the appeal of tourism cities as international destinations, enhance the quality and efficiency of their services, boost the brand images of tourism cities and promote balanced economic and social progress in tourism cities and regions. At present, its members have increased to 182 from 58 at the very beginning, including 121 city members and 61 institutional members. They cover world renowned travel agencies, media groups, airports, airlines, hotel groups and financial enterprises.
The Fragrant Hills Tourism Summit is an annual event launched at the early foundation of the WTCF, subsequently held in WTCF'S member cities. It brings together representatives of international tourism organisations, top government officials of tourism cities and senior executives of tourismrelated institutions to share their experience in tourism development, discuss issues related to tourism development in cities and lock in opportunities for tourism cooperation.
In 2012, the WTCF Beijing Fragrant Hills Tourism Summit, themed “Better City Life through Tourism,” the first of its kind, was held in September. City members signed the Beijing Declaration, discussed major issues facing the tourism industry, and predicted the tourism industry's bright future. In 2013, the summit, themed “Touirsm, New Driving Force for Sustainable Urban Development,” was also held in Beijing. Beijing Consensus and Assessment System for World Tourism Cities, basic norms for cooperation and services of world tourism cities, were issued. Members exchanged ideas on how to strengthen cooperation and promote development when facing challenges and opportunities in new international situations.
The summit in 2014, themed “Market and Cooperation”, was held in Beijing. With the transformation of Chinese inbound tourism marketing methods, products innovation, and promoting the integration and efficient utility of tourism resources by making use of the new media were topics at the summit.
The 2015 WTCF Fragrant Hills Tourism Summit, themed “World Tourism Cities: Diversity and Sustainability,” was held in Morocco's Rabat and Fez and it received attention from Morocco Government and royal families. Marcio Favilla, executive director for Competitiveness, External Relations and Partnerships at the World Tourism Organization, on behalf of the organisation, signed an MOU with WTCF at the opening ceremony to establish partnership relation. Research documents Performance Report on World Tourism Cities and the Annual Report on the Development of World Tourism Cities (2014) were released.
The 2016 summit, themed “Shared Economy and Development of World Tourism Cities,” was held in Chongqing, China. It issued Chongqing Declaration and the concept of shared economy was introduced into the development of world tourism cities. It established sections for promotional fairs, negotiation, and tour exhibitions of world tourism cities. Tegenework Gettu, Under-Secretary-general of UN, attended the summit. He said, “Tourism and shared economy are topics of great significance. The summit will benefit Chongqing, China and people in the world. Nigel David, executive director of WTTC, commented, “It is a professional and impressive summit. Representatives from tourism cities and insiders from around the world got together to communicate and seek out cooperation. It is of great significance for the world tourism industry.”
During the past five years, every Fragrant Hills Tourism Summit has promoted the expansion and connection of global tourism resources with industries, markets, and channels, and has also done a lot of pioneering preparation for international business cooperation and developing its service trade. It is not only a platform for its members, but a grand tourism event with great influence.
Cooperation in Industry Chain Service
The WTCF aims to serve its members, the market and sustainable development of tourism cities and strives to construct a multidimensional and cooperation platform for tourism cities, industry and the market.
In addition to the Fragrant Hills Tourism Summit, the federation offers other services for its members. It launched convention and exhibition services. According to schedules of the industry's renowned exhibitions, WTCF invites its members to send their own tourism resources and product information to the federation. The federation will then compile booklets for members to better promote themselves at exhibitions. In addition,
the federation regularly holds themed discussions and invites representatives from media institutes and member cities to take part, where they will discuss and exchange ideas on industry focus, popular topics and products design.
WTCF seeks to make use of its Committee of Experts, database and data resources of its partners to build an academic platform, offering guidance for the market and tourism industry. The federation has carried out market investigations and research based on market trend analysis, Chinese tourism consumption, and tourism destinations, and released authoritative research results.
The federation regularly publishes academic articles, market reports, theoretical discussions, and training materials. In recent years, WTCF has released the Report on Development of World Tourism Cities, Market Research Report on Chinese Outbound Tourist (City) Consumption, and Report on the Trend of World Tourism Economy, giving suggestions on the sustainable development of tourism cities and expand communications and consensus among members. Tourism cities' potential will be observed by international organisations and will receive more financial support.
WTCF also launched training based on development trends of the global tourism market and common demands of member cities. Helpful for Chinese member cities to better understand the global market, they can do well in overseas marketing. It also helps the federation's foreign member cities to better understand the Chinese market and demands of Chinese tourists, to promote communication and cooperation with Chinese travel enterprises and media institutes.
In 2016, the Committee of Investment was founded during the Chongqing Fragrant Hills Tourism Summit, serving as a connection platform between WTCF members and tourism enterprise, and substantial economy and capital market, in addition to the Committee of Tourism-related Businesses, Committee of the Civil Aviation and Committee of Cruise Industry.
WTCF promotes multilevel cooperation among cities and institutes by offering various services, such as assisting members to join exhibitions and conventions, media promotions, themed discussions, market inquiries, training, and tourism projects investment and financing. It enables members to access all-industry chain service.
Promoting the Belt and Road Tourism Development
The Belt and Road Initiative was proposed in 2013 and the Vision and Actions on Jointly Building Silk Road Economic Belt and 21stCentury Maritime Silk Road, jointly issued by several departments, was released in March 2015. The concept of “strengthening tourism cooperation and expanding tourism scale” has become a focus point for cooperation.
From the perspective of the tourism industry, the Belt and Road connects Asia and Europe, the two largest tourism destinations and tourism source markets, whose tourism volume accounted for 70 percent in the world. They are two of regions with greatest potential for world tourism. Of WTCF'S 182 members, 55 member cities from 18 countries are along the Belt and Road. In recent years, as a platform to promote communication among world tourism
cities, the federation has been committed to extensive cooperation among member cities along the route and among tourism industries, social media and market, so as to promote standardised and convenient construction of tourism cities and promote the construction of Belt and Road Tourism Corridor and Hub City.
The WTCF Rabat & Fez Fragrant
Hills Tourism Summit 2015 was held in September, which included a forum: One Belt and One Road Tourism Investment Driving Tourism City Economic Development. As many member cities are along the Belt and Road, the forum called on the WTCF to organise and coordinate cities to carry out Belt and Road tourism to increase mutual understanding and trust among people, receiving 400 guests. In January 2016, WTCF and its member city Altai jointly hosted the International Forum on One Belt, One Road & Tourism Cooperation.” The federation takes Altai as its centre, displaying its geographical advantages as adjacent to Kazakhstan, Russia, and Mongolia, and strengthen member cities' cross-border exchange and communications, ice and snow, and highend custom tourism.
From March 25 to 29, 2017, the WTCF Asia-pacific Tourism Conference, themed: One Belt One Road: Development of Tourism Corridor and City Hub, was held at Setia SPICE Convention Center in Malaysia. Representatives from UN World Tourism Organization, city and institutional members of WTCF, and experts from WTCF'S Committee of Experts and officials from the Penang Government attended the conference.
The One Belt One Road Tourism Corridor is an international tourism passage based on tourism infrastructure, connected by tourism and cultural resources and proven by its outstanding services. Its vision is to integrate the Silk Road Spirit of “peace and cooperation, openness and inclusiveness, mutual learning and mutual benefit” with current trends in the world, to realise infrastructure interconnectivity and create mutual benefits for tourism cities and jointly create a travel-friendly society. The corridor will be constructed into a multiple and convenient travel passage, with city hubs as not only mere tourism destinations, but as source markets. They serve as a tourism distribution centre. The construction of the tourism corridor and city hub is beneficial to removing trade barriers in tourism cities and has great influence on sustainable development of world tourism.
At the Asia- Pacific Tourism Forum, ETCF put forward five initiatives for cities and countries along the Belt and Road: promote opening up and cooperation, and realise mutual benefits; respect cultural diversity, joint construction joint forces mechanism; displaying the role of platform, creating tourism products; promoting city hubs, innovation in service methods; improving emergency situations, and ensuring travel safety.
All WTCF members are willing to display the federation's advantages in organisation and its role as a platform and support for the Belt and Road Initiative construction in eight aspects: developing tourism products, building infrastructure, drafting tourism standards, investment and financing, development and inquiry services, tourism promotion, personnel training, and data sharing. It will set an example in the tourism corridor and city hub construction and offer a consistent model for world tourism cooperation.
Departure ceremony of “Thousands of Tourists to Morocco” organised by WTCF and its members
WTCF draws new members to increase influence.
The conference, themed: One Belt One Road: Development of Tourism Corridor and City Hub, held in Penang