Publish Time：2023-09-08 11:28:16Source：WTCF
【Introduction】：As one of the ten summit forums held during the 2023 China International Fair for Trade in Services (CIFTS), the Conference was themed "New Trends - New Business Format - New Consumption: Jointly Creating the New Prosperity for Culture & Tourism". Nearly 400 delegates from about 30 countries and regions gathered to share innovative ideas, decisions, and practices and to look into the development potential and prospects of the world's tourism cities under the accelerating trend of global tourism recovery.
As the global tourism industry steps into a period of recovery, how should the world's tourism cities grasp new trends, seize new opportunities, and make the global tourism industry usher into a new chapter of common prosperity? On 2 September, the World Conference on Tourism Cooperation and Development 2023 (hereinafter the "Conference"), co-hosted by the World Tourism Cities Federation (WTCF) and the People's Government of Beijing Municipality, was successfully held at the China National Convention Center in Beijing. As one of the ten summit forums held during the 2023 China International Fair for Trade in Services (CIFTS), the Conference was themed "New Trends - New Business Format - New Consumption: Jointly Creating the New Prosperity for Culture & Tourism". Nearly 400 delegates from about 30 countries and regions gathered to share innovative ideas, decisions, and practices and to look into the development potential and prospects of the world's tourism cities under the accelerating trend of global tourism recovery.
A photo taken during the Conference
Providing an international platform to promote global tourism exchanges and cooperation
The World Tourism Cities Federation (WTCF) is the first city-focused global tourism organization in the world and has been actively promoting cooperation and exchanges among tourism cities since its establishment 11 years ago. As an important annual conference organized by WTCF, the World Conference on Tourism Cooperation and Development has been successfully held several times, and its role as a platform has been widely recognized by Chinese and foreign practitioners and stakeholders within the tourism industry.
At the opening ceremony of the Conference, Yin Yong, Mayor of Beijing and Chairman of WTCF Council, recognized the efforts of the Conference in promoting the development experiences of tourism cities and facilitating global tourism exchanges and cooperation. "The world tourism industry," he said, "is at a strategic turning point from the recovery of its markets to high-quality development, which requires us to be in the same boat and ride on the momentum to accelerate the improvement of quality of and upgrading of the tourism industry to achieve sustained recovery and prosperous development." Pansy Ho, Vice Chairman and Secretary-General of the Global Tourism Economic Forum (GTEF), said, "I hope that we can establish a long-lasting cooperation with WTCF and that we can commit ourselves to sustained joint efforts."
Representatives of many countries have given positive comments on WTCF as well as on the launch of the Conference. Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, former president of the Republic of Croatia acknowledged WTCF's visible leadership in the tourism sector, saying, "About 80% of the world's tourism behavior takes place in cities, and WTCF has achieved fruitful results in guiding the development of the world's tourism cities by using them as medium to promote multilateral exchanges between tourism cities." José Luis Sanz Ruiz, Mayor of Seville, Spain, believes that the Conference has assumed an important role in the development and recovery of global tourism, and "looks forward to continuing to maintain cooperation with WTCF in the future development of urban tourism."
Gathering the world's wisdom to boost confidence in the recovery of global tourism
At present, the recovery of the global tourism industry is accelerating. Given this, how should we seize the opportunity to boost confidence and promote the sustainable development of the world tourism industry? At the Conference, guests shared their views and tried to form solutions to challenges.
Mayors' Dialogue Session
José Luis Sanz Ruiz, Mayor of Seville, Spain, shared the practices of the City of Seville in setting up the Smart Tourism Office, developing the Tourism Intelligence System, and cooperating with universities to develop a comprehensive index of global tourism activities. Sanz also put forward a new way of thinking about sustainable tourism development, which is to "attract new groups of tourists and provide diversified services".
Jantirar Abay Yigzaw, Vice Mayor of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, said Addis Ababa has a lot of intangible and tangible cultural heritage sites and items and that "We are working on promoting smart infrastructure and mobilizing communities to participate in tourism development, to tap into the city's potential for development and make Addis Ababa a smart city where tourists would like to stay longer."
Gao Wenqi, Vice Mayor of Changsha, told attendees that Changsha integrates cultural tourism with the city's texture and deepens the integrated development of cultural tourism through the leading roles of plans, support for projects, and brand demonstration. Gao continued that Changsha will further promote the development of its tourism sector by "making the ancient heritage shine through, making the red culture more amazing, and making the nights more gorgeous."
Khalid El Fataoui, Vice Mayor of Marrakech, Morocco, believes that Marrakech has learned a lot from China's development, adding that his city is also currently making great efforts to develop green tourism, including desalination of seawater and the use of solar energy.
WTCF releases the World Tourism Cities Development Report (2022), its latest research report.
At the Conference, two important academic research results, the World Tourism Cities Development Report (2022) and Quantifying Tourism in City Destinations: Towards a Global Database of Urban Tourism were released to provide intellectual support to promote the restart and prosperity of the world's tourism industry.
Innovative approaches for creating a better future for world tourism
In the post-pandemic era, a series of new trends have emerged in the global tourism industry, such as eco-sustainable tourism, virtual tourism, and the use of digital technologies to improve tourism experiences. These new formats have been injecting the power of innovation into the recovery of tourism. Experts and industrial representatives attending the Conference expressed their views and offered suggestions to promote the recovery of world tourism.
With the continuous development and popularization of information technologies, smart tourism has become a new pattern for travelers. It integrates information technologies and tourism resources and can provide smarter, more convenient, and personalized tourism services. Li Baochun, Executive Deputy Secretary-general of WTCF, pointed out that the COVID-19 pandemic forced many extant industries and enterprises to change their business modes and adopt online and electronic transactions, and that the boost brought by scientific and technological means to tourism is unprecedented. Wang Wei, Senior Vice President of Trip.com Group, said that Trip.com has now created an internationalized App available in 27 languages and invested in numerous excellent overseas platform companies, hoping to help each country do a good job of its own inbound tourism sector and promote more products to more users.
For the development of urban tourism, Lorena Villar Adela, Senior Project Specialist of Tourism Market Intelligence and Competitiveness, UNWTO, hoped for a database for urban tourism, in order to "solve the difficulties in finding data and support tourism cities in decision making." Patrick Bontinck, CEO of visit.brussels, Belgium, said that Brussels used to focus on the number of tourists but is now concerned with the economic and social impact of future sustainability, saying "We need to allow residents to fully participate in the development of urban tourism and listen seriously to and adopt their suggestions."
As the tourism industry enters a stage of comprehensive recovery with "strong supply and demand and accelerated recovery", cooperation is the first driving force leading the development. Wang Xudong, Member of the CPC Leading Party Members Group of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of China, and Director of the Palace Museum, explained that "The prosperous development of the world's tourism industry requires working together. Based on mutual benefit and a win-win situation, efforts must continue to be made in the areas of policy communication, industrial cooperation, and standard docking to promote the tourism industry in the new era, to make it the pillar and engine of world tourism economic development, as well as a bridge and a link for promoting mutual understanding among people of all countries."
The convening of the Conference will also further deepen understanding between tourism cities around the world, consolidate the foundation for cooperation, expand fields of cooperation, and jointly create a better future for the world's tourism cities.