Publish Time：2023-09-07 22:27:29Source：WTCF
【Introduction】：Over 300 participants, including representatives from more than 20 foreign embassies in China, mayors of WTCF's member cities, representatives of international organizations, key figures of tourism groups, experts in the field of cultural tourism, and well-known media representatives, gathered in the city of Taiyuan to explore the integration of urban tourism and culture.
Civilizations become diverse through exchanges and enriched through mutual learning. From 3 to 5 September, WTCF Taiyuan Forum on World Famous Cultural Tourism Cities 2023 (hereinafter referred to as the "Forum") was successfully held in Taiyuan. Under the theme "Promoting Development of Cultural Tourism Industry and Building World Famous Cultural Tourism Cities," the Forum was jointly hosted by the CPC Taiyuan Municipal Committee, Taiyuan Municipal People's Government, the Shanxi Provincial Department of Culture and Tourism, and the World Tourism Cities Federation (WTCF). Taiyuan Municipal Bureau of Culture and Tourism served as the organizer. Over 300 participants, including representatives from more than 20 foreign embassies in China, mayors of WTCF's member cities, representatives of international organizations, key figures of tourism groups, experts in the field of cultural tourism, and well-known media representatives, gathered in the city of Taiyuan to explore the integration of urban tourism and culture. They also discussed new demands and new trends in global tourism development, contributing wisdom and energy to the global tourism industry.
A photo taken during the opening ceremony
Building an International Platform to Collaborate on Vision of Tourism Development
The Forum included a section for keynote speeches, a section for research releases, a special forum, a section for thematic speeches, a tourism B2B matching event, and a field study tour. It attracted an impressive lineup of high-profile guests and offered a variety of engaging activities.
On the morning of 4 September, the opening ceremony of the Forum was held at Jinci Hotel. Wei Tao, a member of the Standing Committee of the CPC Shanxi Provincial Committee and Secretary of the CPC Taiyuan Municipal Committee, along with Xiong Jijun, Vice Governor of Shanxi Province, attended the opening ceremony and delivered speeches. Yang Shuo, Secretary-General of WTCF, and José Luis Sanz Ruiz, Mayor of Seville, Spain, also delivered speeches. The opening ceremony was hosted by Li Yongqiang, Vice Mayor of Taiyuan City.
Wei Tao, in his speech, introduced Taiyuan's rich history and profound cultural heritage, highlighting its ages-old reputation as the "Splendid Taiyuan." In recent years, Taiyuan has actively integrated its cultural and tourism resources, vigorously promoted the creation and upgrading of scenic areas, and has continuously developed new formats and products in the "cultural tourism +" sector. Taiyuan has also been committed to improving supporting services and accelerating the construction of important cultural tourism destinations both domestically and internationally famous Wei also expressed that Taiyuan will leverage its advantages to further enrich cultural tourism products and enhance their quality. Additionally, Taiyuan will utilize the platform provided by WTCF to strengthen communication and exchanges with member cities, intensify external promotional efforts, and accelerate the pace of opening up to make a positive contribution to the inheritance and promotion of Chinese traditional culture, global cultural exchanges, and mutual learning.
Xiong Jijun emphasized that the building of famous cultural tourism cities is a crucial driver for the development of all-for-one tourism and the promotion of the integration between cultural and tourism sectors. He expressed his sincere hope that WTCF and all the distinguished guests would pay attention to Shanxi, experience Shanxi, and promote Shanxi. Xiong encouraged them to be partners, allies, and promoters of Shanxi's cultural and tourism development, telling the story of Shanxi well. Furthermore, Xiong urged taking action to connect and bridge the gap to bring in more international travel agencies and investors, attract visitors to come and invest in Shanxi, and contribute to the high-quality development of Shanxi's cultural and tourism sectors.
José Luis Sanz Ruiz expressed in his speech that sustainable tourism is the fundamental pillar in building world cultural tourism cities. "In Seville, we are committed to making tourism an engine for development without sacrificing natural resources or the quality of life for citizens. We prioritize responsibility, aiming to minimize the impact of tourism on the ecological environment and show respect for the city and its surroundings."
In his address, Yang Shuo introduced that the World Cultural Tourism Cities Forum serves as a vital platform for exchanges and cooperation among world tourism cities. Its goal is to enhance cultural exchanges between cities, promote mutual learning about world civilizations, and create internationally renowned cultural tourism city brands. WTCF Taiyuan Forum on World Famous Cultural Tourism Cities 2023 focused on the theme of "Promoting Development of Cultural Tourism Industry and Building World Famous Cultural Tourism Cities." It highlighted the creation of historical and cultural brands for cities and explored optimal solutions for the integration of cultural resources and the development of the tourism sector in tourism cities, with guests from all around the globe discussing new initiatives for the prosperity of the cultural tourism sector in world-famous cultural cities.
Regarding the organization and development of the World Cultural Tourism Cities Forum, Yang offered five recommendations: continuously deepening cultural exchanges and mutual learning; continuously exploring new ways to express and promote culture; delving deeper into distinctive regional cultural tours; enhancing the competitiveness of the urban-centric cultural tourism sector; and drawing on scientifically effective experiences to drive the development of famous cultural tourism cities.
A photo taken during the Forum
Urban Renewal: Discussions on Sustainable Development of Tourist Cities
Following the opening ceremony, Zhang Xinwei, Deputy Secretary of the CPC Taiyuan Municipal Committee and Mayor of Taiyuan Municipal People's Government, engaged in an in-depth discussion with some of the guests on the theme of "Mayor's Perspectives on Building World Cultural Tourism Cities."
Zhang informed that Taiyuan has a history of more than 2,500 years, numerous historic heritage sites, and rich cultural resources. Today, Taiyuan adheres to the concept of open development, continually strengthens international exchanges and cooperation, and successfully hosts major exhibition events such as Taiyuan Energy Low Carbon Development Forum, Taiyuan International General Aviation Expo, and the Jinyang Lake Digital Economy Development Summit. The city has also become a member of the Asia-Pacific City Summit and established international sister city relationships with 11 cities in countries such as France, Germany, and Australia. It is actively showcasing its cultural and tourism identity as "Splendid Taiyuan with Charm and Demeanor of Tang Dynasty and Jin Kingdom" to the world.
Jantirar Abay Yigzaw, Vice Mayor of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, expressed that the tourism industry is becoming a top priority in the modernization of cities. He mentioned that Ethiopia has a rich history and civilization with a variety of art and history museums. He elaborated that since the 1950s the local government has spared no effort in strengthening the preservation of cultural heritage. Currently, they are constructing a series of attractions to draw the attention of tourists, including national parks and more.
During the special forum, discussions centered around "Exchanges & Mutual Learning among Civilizations and Building of World-Famous Cultural Tourism Cities". The participants included Tefera Derbew Yimam, the Ambassador of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia to China; Pedzisai Peter Mwayera, Minister Counsellor of the Embassy of the Republic of Zimbabwe in China; Tian Ning, General Manager of CAISSA PROSPECT (Beijing) Business Travel Management Co., Ltd; Wang Chaoyang, Chief Architect of Digital Culture Lab, Sustainable Social Value Dept., Tencent; and Liu Da, Executive Director of Beijing BIG Tourism Development Co., Ltd. They all participated in in-depth discussions, sharing insights on new developments in cultural tourism and exploring new pathways for the building of world-famous cultural tourism cities.
Faced with the question of "How to view Ethiopia's innovation in tourism and how to integrate culture, tourism, history, and innovation", Tefera Derbew Yimam expressed that a technological revolution is sweeping across the globe with unprecedented momentum and that the dimensions of the tourism industry have undergone a significant transformation. It is expected that by 2025 50% of the tourism market will be dominated by younger generations like Gen Y-ers and Gen Z-ers. In response to this, they have implemented a digital marketing strategy. He stated, "We are using ICT (Information and Communication Technology) to enrich the tourism experiences we currently offer, develop better tourism products, enhance the experiences for tourists at our destinations, and expedite the recovery of our tourism sector."
Digital tools are indispensable in supporting the tourism industry. Data shows that in the first half of this year, Zimbabwe's tourism sector experienced rapid growth, with a 50% year-on-year increase. Hotel occupancy rates increased from 39% to 41%, and total revenue from the tourism industry grew by 16% compared to the previous year, reaching USD 397 million. In light of this positive trend, Pedzisai Peter Mwayera explained that Zimbabwe is not only exploring more international routes but also focusing on international marketing. They are also encouraging domestic travel agencies in Zimbabwe to participate in international conferences and travel events.
Later, Tian Ning, Wang Chaoyang, and Liu Da delved into various other aspects, including "Cultural IP + Urban Attributes", "Digital Innovation and the Integration of Culture and Tourism", and "Multiple Paths to Empowering World Cultural Tourism City Brand Construction."
The special forum themed "Exchanges & Mutual Learning among Civilizations and Building of World-Famous Cultural Tourism Cities"
During the thematic speech section, there were presentations by the following individuals on the theme of "Cultural Brand Building and the Development of Culture and Tourism Industry": Ke Xiandong, Deputy Director-General of Guangzhou Municipal Culture, Radio, Television, and Tourism Bureau; Rob Lang, Chairman of Edinburgh China Tourism Programme; Wu Bihu, WTCF expert, Director of Center for Recreation and Tourism Research (CRTR) of Peking University; Zhu Jianmin, President of Shanxi Cultural Tourism (Industry) Planning and Research Institute; Li Gang, President of Beijing WTown Tourism Co., Ltd.; and Lisa Yan, General Manager of Intelligent Tourism of Qunar.com. Each delivered special lectures during the section.
Collaboration for Mutual Benefit to Create a New Era in Global Tourism Development
The Forum not only witnessed a collision of ideas and an exchange of viewpoints but also yielded fruitful results.
During the Forum, Professor Ding Peiyi, WTCF expert, and a Fellow of Griffith Institute for Tourism at Griffith University in Australia, released the Report on Cultural Brand Building and Image Dissemination of Tourism Cities. The report serves as a medium for WTCF to share the development experiences of member cities, explore paths to cultural city development, and contribute to enhancing city visibility. The report also comprehensively examines the characteristics and values of cultural brands in tourism cities, focuses on the challenges faced in the construction of cultural city brands, and proposes pathways for building and promoting city cultural brands.
The report consists of four major sections, namely: foundational research on cultural brand construction in tourism cities, cultural brand construction in tourism cities, image management and communication in world tourism cities, and conclusions and prospects.
The report posits that the integrated promotion of a city's brand image essentially involves the coordinated utilization of various marketing media, communication channels, and methods to convey a clear, distinct, and consistent city brand message to specific target audiences effectively and coherently. The public relations marketing of cities are conducted based on the concept of marketing goods to promote cities, ensuring the enduring appeal of cities' cultural brands.
Taking Taiyuan City as an example, it has crafted a city brand image called "Splendid Taiyuan with Charm and Demeanor of Tang Dynasty and Jin Kingdom". They have placed significant emphasis on designing a visual identity system to enhance iconic elements. Additionally, they have developed leisure districts and distinctive neighborhoods, employed diverse brand promotion approaches and strategies, and promoted Taiyuan's noodle festival, marathon races, and the "Red Tourism" to the rest of the world. Simultaneously, they have leveraged the intellectual property influence of the film "The River is Red" and "Oriental Selection" online live broadcasts to increase the city's visibility and attract tourists to sightsee and explore.
During the tourism B2B matching event, 16 member organizations invited by WTCF engaged in discussions with 60 travel agencies, scenic spots, and hotels invited by Taiyuan. This resulted in a total of 192 negotiations. Representatives from participating cities such as Marrakech and Addis Ababa conducted promotional activities for their cultural tourism resources.
During this section, significant agreements were reached between Trip.com Group and Shanxi Baohua Shengshi International Travel Service Co., Ltd., the China Tourism Group Travel Service Co., Ltd. and Shanxi Hongma Tourism Co., Ltd., Utour Group Co., Ltd. and Taiyuan China Travel Agency, BTG International Travel & Tours and Shanxi Pacific Tourism Service Co., Ltd., and China Tourism Group Travel Service Co., Ltd. and CITS (Shanxi) International Travel Service Co., Ltd. All have conducted proactive discussions with their partners. These agreements were signed to support the expansion of Shanxi's cultural tourism industry into larger tourist source markets.
All participants agreed that adhering to high standards, involving high-quality stakeholders, and conducting specialized negotiations can significantly improve the effectiveness of trade negotiation meetings. This approach will facilitate high-level dialogue and open up broader avenues for development opportunities. The Forum has, without a doubt, created a new platform for enhancing friendly exchanges and practical cooperation among tourism cities, marking a fresh beginning for global multi-city collaboration. As the cornerstone of global tourism cities, WTCF is poised to elevate member-to-member exchange and cooperation to new heights!