UNWTO host city praised for suc­cess­ful event

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - BUSINESS - By CAO YINGYING caoy­ingy­ing@chi­nadaily.com.cn

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.”

PHO­TOS PRO­VIDED TO CHINA DAILY

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.

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