Chengdu’s appeal as go-to destination rises
Chengdu, one of the most important cities in western China, is increasingly seen as the top choice for major event organizers for its convenient aviation links, sound environment and facilities, as well as its abundant tourism resources.
Taleb Rifai, outgoing secretary-general of the United Nations World Tourism Organization, said: “Chengdu is one of the most dynamic and passionate cities in China.” Chengdu recently held the organization’s biennial general assembly.
The capital of Sichuan province has been selected as one of 2017’s 21 must-see places in the National Geographic Traveler Magazine, as the only Chinese tourism destination on the list.
On the MasterCard 2016 Global Destination City Index, Chengdu ranked as the world’s No 2 global destination, with an annual visitor growth rate of 20.14 percent, just behind Japan’s Osaka.
The city also ranked among the global top 100 cities according to the Globalization and World Cities Study Group and Network, or GaWC.
According to official statistics, Chengdu’s GDP reached 1.2 trillion yuan ($180.91 billion) in 2016, making it a key central city in western China.
The city is strengthening its functions as a center for technology, finance, cultural creativity, global communications and transportation in China.
To date, Chengdu has established sister-city relationships with 33 international cities and is home to 16 consulates.
Whether in ancient times or today, Chengdu has always played an active role as a transportation hub, connecting five continents. The city has launched hundreds of international direct flights to North America, Europe, Oceania, Africa and Asia.
The direct flight from Chengdu to Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, was launched on May 22. It is the second direct flight linking Chengdu and Africa.
According to Chengdu International Railway Port, a total of 487 express trains ran from Chengdu to Europe from January to August.
Two foreign participants to the UNWTO meeting display their panda souvenirs, a symbol of Chengdu.