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Beijing summit attracts key leisure-travel players

Updated: 2014-09-05 /By Fu Chao (China Daily)
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A two-day conference hosted by one of the world's largest international tourism associations opened in Beijing on Thursday.

The World Tourism Cities Federation's Beijing Fragrant Hills Tourism Summit has attracted leading players and authorities from 82 cities and 44 organizations from 38 countries and regions as well as more than 320 representatives from 126 members.

The total number of participants is expected to reach 600.

Under the core idea of "Better city life through tourism", the federation is striving to offer an international platform for its members to expand the market and cooperate with other parties in the industry.

Song Yu, its secretary-general, said, "A modern city is not only a good place to live, it is also a good place to travel to. We offer cities the information they need about the tourism industry and also bring them tourists."

Initiated by Beijing, the federation was founded in 2012. Membership has risen quickly in the past two years and covers most major tourism cities and regions as well as leading players in the industry.

To date, there are 135 members - 88 cities and 47 organizations - an increase of about 25 percent over 2013.

A statement from the WTCF secretariat said the federation has expanded its membership to cover key tourism areas including South America, Southeast Asia and the Caribbean, creating a comprehensive network for its members.

It aims to provide its members with information, market and academic research results, platforms such as summits and expos, as well as training

Through three travel summits and "many other actions and services", the organization has "almost fulfilled its mission", Song said.

He added that after people know more about a particular city, they will see its individual charm and want to travel there.

"The federation is also sending Chinese tourists' travel patterns, cultural and other needs to its member cities and regions so that they can be fully prepared and know how to provide the best service to Chinese."

The tourism summit plays a significant role in promoting the federation and its members.

The theme this year is "Market and Cooperation", with the summit including forums, conferences and two new sections - a road show and trade fair.

During the road show, 28 member cities and regions from around the world presented their tourism products and local culture to the public.

More than 240 companies and organizations in the tourism industry are attending the trade fair, which aims to become a high-end cooperation platform for Chinese tourism.

Before the fair opened, 1,500 prospective deals were negotiated by buyers. During the fair, each buyer is allowed 15 minutes for face-to-face negotiations.

At the summit opening ceremony, the federation also launched its "We-media" platform. This will provide members and tourists with the latest information through the organization's mobile app, WeChat and microblog accounts, official website and magazine.

Song said the federation will follow the latest technology trends to offer new and innovative services to its members. In the future, it will further boost cooperation between members and introduce more tourism cities and regions to the global market.

It will also continue to work on technology to develop more new-media projects.

Having set up an expert committee for market and academic research, the federation will release more reports and publications to offer high-quality information to its membership.

fuchao@chinadaily.com.cn

Noel Irwin Hentschel, chair and CEO of AmericanTours International, shakes hands with Song Yu (center), secretary-general of the World Tourism Cities Federation, and Qiu Xichun, vice-president of Taikang Life Insurance Co Ltd, after signing a contract during the summit. Photo by Feng Yongbin / China Daily

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