Wang Hong, Executive Vice Chairman of the WTCF Council and Vice Mayor of Beijing: Attach Equal Importance to Tourism Resumption and Epidemic Prevention and Control, and Collaboration to Promote the Recovery and Development of World Tourism

Publish Time:2020-09-07 10:12:12Source:WTCF

【Introduction】:Wang Hong, Executive Vice Chairman of the WTCF and Vice Mayor of Beijing, delivered a speech about “the recovery and development of global tourism”.

Wang Hong, Executive Vice Chairman of the WTCF Council and Vice Mayor of Beijing delivers a speech

On September 5th, the World Conference on Tourism Cooperation and Development hosted by the World Tourism Cities Federation (WTCF) officially kicked off. It is themed with “Rebuilding World Tourism for Prosperity”. In the keynote speech segment, Wang Hong, Executive Vice Chairman of the WTCF and Vice Mayor of Beijing, delivered a speech about “the recovery and development of global tourism”. According to Wang Hong, against the backdrop of COVID-19, the WTCF, as the world’s first international tourism organization with cities as its main body, will make full use of its role as an international platform to encourage tourism cities and enterprises to enhance international collaboration so as to jointly fight COVID-19, and will provide a multilateral exchange platform for world travel to assist the recovery and development of the global tourism industry.

In the keynote speech, Wang Hong reviewed the changes brought by COVID-19 worldwide. She pointed out that the pandemic is a global public health event that has caused a huge impact on global tourism development. According to statistics, it is expected that in 2020 the number of international tourists around the globe will decrease by about 80%, and the global tourism industry will lose more than $1 trillion USD. The epidemic not only changed the development course of world tourism, but also changed its travel mode and management mode. Wang Hong believes that world tourism is the indicator and engine of the world’s economic recovery, and the recuperation of the industry signifies a strong support for safeguarding social security and stability, as well as a key element to consolidate the results of epidemic prevention and control. “Taking the lead in securing a rapid rebound in tourism is of great significance to economic growth, people-to-people and cultural exchanges, social stability and the alleviation of social poverty,” says Wang Hong. The establishment of a management mechanism in line with global epidemic prevention and control must be sped up, so as to support the reopening and prosperity of world tourism on the precondition of ensuring the safety and health of tourists.

At this critical moment of global epidemic prevention and control as well as tourism resumption, the WTCF plays a constructive role by co-organizing this conference to enhance the tourism recovery through exchanges among the global tourism industry. Wang Hong said “We must establish a more humane, sound and orderly developmental concept. We must attach equal importance to epidemic prevention and control as well as tourism resumption, while we introduce a systematic plan for the recovery of tourism as soon as possible. Moreover, we have to adopt a flexible management model according to different levels of response, different regions and different periods, so as to comprehensively promote green and sustainable development for world tourism.”

The World Health Organization (WHO) stated that COVID-19 would coexist with humans for a long time. When we restart global tourism, we must consider the fact that we may need to keep the epidemic at bay for a long time. In this context, how should the tourism industry give equal emphasis on epidemic prevention and control, tourism resumption, collaboration and innovation? Wang Hong shared her answer in the speech. First, life is always the top priority. For example, in areas where the epidemic is generally under control, we can restart domestic tourism, and then proceed with restoring international tourism by means of the transportation industry; we should actively promote the online and offline booking mechanism, and encourage travels which avoid congested places, customized itineraries, and small-group or family trips. Second, international collaboration needs to be stronger. The WTCF, as an international tourism organization, encourages global cities and enterprises to actively conduct transnational cooperation in establishing an intelligence sharing mechanism for a world crisis response, a global safety information database and an international crisis service platform, so that relevant information could be shared promptly. Third, supportive policies should be strengthened accordingly to maintain an integrated world tourism service system. The WTCF calls on governments and tourism cities to actively adopt rescue policies and fully mobilize the enthusiasm of all market entities to help tourism companies resolve difficulties. The WTCF also encourages countries and global cities to actively carry out pilot projects to optimize visa policies on both sides, establish mutually-recognized disease detection information, and introduce more visa management measures which meet the needs of epidemic prevention and control. Finally, innovation should be the driving force. Epidemic prevention and control could be an opportunity to upgrade the industry. The WTCF calls on global cities and enterprises to 1) maximize the usage of the Internet, big data, intellectualization and other modern technologies; 2) explore new modes of travel, crisis-coping and tourism management which are compatible to epidemic prevention and control; 3) transform the traditional mode of development; and 4) advocate a decentralized, customized and pre-booked travel module. The WTCF also promotes the sharing economy, the improvement of tourism infrastructure, and the creation of niche and personalized travel itineraries.

At present, the epidemic prevention and control is taking place globally. It is significant for all governments and global cities to ensure that tourism activities are carried out with order so the epidemic will not re-emerge. Wang Hong said that “The WTCF is willing to join hands with other international tourism organizations to proactively encourage collaboration and development worldwide, while playing a more helpful role to eliminate the damage the epidemic has done to world tourism.”

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