UNWTO host city praised for successful event
Chengdu, capital of Sichuan province, caught the world’s attention and won praise from official leaders by hosting the 22nd General Assembly of the United Nations World Tourism Organization from Sept 11-16.
It is the second time that a Chinese city has held the leading international conference on tourism, after Beijing hosted the event in 2003.
This year, the biennial assembly attracted more than 1,300 representatives from more than 130 member states of UNWTO, including 70 ministerial participants and 41 heads of international organizations.
At the conference, China launched the World Tourism Alliance, the first non-profit international tourism NGO established by the China National Tourism Association.
Headquartered in Beijing, the newly established organization will serve as a platform for international tourism cooperation and exchanges.
“It will help to expand China’s influence in the international tourism industry by learning from other countries’ advanced experiences,” said Li Jinzao, director of the China National Tourism Administration.
Chengdu, as the host city of the assembly, promoted the establishment of the World Tourism Alliance and has witnessed the organization becoming an important part of the world’s tourism industry.
Another highlight of the conference was a roundtable meeting among national ministers on the theme of the Belt and Road Initiative, comprising the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, proposed by China in 2013.
The meeting deepened tourism cooperation along the Silk Road and set up a tourism community, which gained wide acceptance among the meeting’s attendees.
Li said that the Belt and Road Initiative has broadened the global tourism market and shifted governments’ focus onto tourism, meaning related resources have become more valuable.
As a key link for the Northern and Southern Silk Roads, Chengdu strove to be an impeccable host at the meeting, local officials said. When the assembly was finished, the city left a deep impression on participating leaders, who spoke highly of it.
Taleb Rifai, outgoing secretary-general of UNWTO, said that Chengdu had thoroughly prepared and provided considerate security for the assembly.
“The assembly is an important milestone not only for UNWTO, but also for the development of world tourism industry,” he added.
Zurab Pololikashvili, the newly-selected secretarygeneral of UNWTO, said that the scale of the assembly was a new record. He had never seen as many participants and media reporters attending the assembly before.
Pololikashvili added that the hospitality of Chengdu’s residents made him feel at home.
Under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative, UNWTO hopes to launch events in Chengdu again soon, said Pololikashvili, adding that he would spare no efforts in showcasing China and Chengdu to the world.
Romanian Tourism Minister Mircea Titus Dobre said that holding the assembly highlighted the Chinese tourism sector’s strong ability to co-ordinate, organize and provide security.
Ahcene Boukhelfa, Algerian ambassador to China, said that Chengdu should be proud of successfully hosting the assembly with considerate services.
China National Tourism Administration Director Li said: “Chengdu has done a good job in terms of service, catering, decoration and electricity supply. I am grateful for the efforts the staff members have made.
“Hosting the assembly in Chengdu reflects the great attraction of Sichuan’s and Chengdu’s tourism industry. It has also showed the world China’s achievements in the tourism industry.”
Chengdu, capital of Sichuan province, hosts the 22nd General Assembly of the United Nations World Tourism Organization from Sept 1116.
Foreign delegates attend the UNWTO meeting in Chengdu.