The World Conference on Tourism Cooperation and Development Rebuilds World Tourism for Prosperity

Work Together and Achieve Win-Win Results

Publish Time:2020-09-11 14:29:10Source:WTCF

【Introduction】:On September 5th , the World Conference on Tourism Cooperation and Development commenced and was the only conference held by international organizations during the 2020 CIFTIS.

Since the beginning of 2020, global tourism has suffered unprecedented losses due to the sudden onset of the COVID-19 epidemic. World tourism is an indicator and engine for the recovery of the global economy. But how do we restore the confidence of tourism? The prevention and control of the epidemic as well as the recovery of the industry are reaching a critical moment. Presently, how do people in the tourism industry stick to prevention and control as well as focus on cooperation and innovation?

On September 5th, the World Conference on Tourism Cooperation and Development commenced and was the only conference held by international organizations during the 2020 China International Fair for Trade in Services (CIFTIS). The World Tourism Cities Federation (WTCF) invited 300 representatives of global tourism industry. They discussed the recovery of the tourism industry and the way to revitalize it together according to the theme of “Rebuilding World Tourism for Prosperity”.

Openness and Inclusiveness, Build an International Platform to Jointly Promote the Recovery of the Tourism Industry

Tourism is one of the global industries hit hardest by the epidemic. According to the United Nations World Tourism Organization (WTO), the number of international tourists reduced by about 80% from the year before and the loss of international tourism revenue is more than 1 trillion US dollars this year, which will make the global tourism industry retrogress for 20 years.

The forum of "New Normal of Tourism amid COVID-19"

The more difficulties we face, the more we must cooperate. As the world’s first city-based global international tourism organization, the WTCF has strengthened cooperation with other international organizations, and cooperated with the governments of various countries in the prevention and control of the epidemic at the beginning of the outbreak. Secondly, focusing on the theme of how to resume work and production as soon as possible amid COVID-19, the WTCF has also held a number of online forums to provide a platform for members to exchange experience, such as the Latin American Regional Online Tourism Forum. During 2020 CIFTIS, the WTCF held this conference jointly with the WTO, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), the World Travel & Tourism Council, including other international organizations and top tourism exhibition organizers. This conference attracted more than 50 speakers and about 300 representatives, including heads of international organizations, ambassadors to China, representative members of the WTCF, heads of famous tourism groups and leaders of investment organizations. It was broadcasted live online in Chinese, English, French, Spanish and Russian to the whole world, attracting more than 200 members and tourism enterprises of 75 countries and regions. Before the conference, the WTCF specially built a cloud booth for its member cities, providing an online exhibition platform accessible to the globe.

At the opening of conference, Hu Heping, Minister of Culture and Tourism of China, said that WTCF held this conference jointly with many important international organizations and discussed the development of world tourism amid the COVID-19. It was a timely and necessary event. It fully demonstrated the firm determination of the world tourism industry to unite and overcome difficulties. It would garner global wisdom, experience and power to promote the restoration and prosperity of world tourism.

When it comes to holding this conference, Zurab Pololikashvili, Secretary-General of the WTO, said, “With firm determination to rebuild the industry after the epidemic with optimism, the WTCF held this conference jointly with the WTO and other international tourism organizations, in order to enhance multilateral cooperation and restore the confidence in the development of world tourism.”

To rebuild world tourism for prosperity, all the members of the sector have reached a consensus in terms of cooperating with each other. Ms. Gloria Guevara Manzo, President & CEO of World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), mentioned in her keynote speech that the WTTC would take a number of measures to promote the recovery of the industry, including promoting cooperation, reopening borders, removing barriers, focusing on tourism experience, and formulating relevant regulations. The government would continue to provide support, including economic aid, stimulus measures, liquidity and marketing. Sherali Saidamir Jonon, Deputy Secretary-General of the Secretariat of SCO, said that the member groups of SCO jointly approved 2021-2022 Joint Action Plan On Tourism Cooperation on May 22nd this year, which will deepen cooperation and interaction among countries in the world. In his speech, Alexandre de Juniac, Chairman and CEO of International Air Transport Association (IATA), introduced that IATA, governments, World Health Organization (WHO) and partners from many industries have jointly written Guidance for Air Travel of International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), in order to rebuild the aviation industry. “The guidance has been written at a speed rarely seen in the world and is designed to ensure the safety of passengers in flight.”

Li Baochun, Executive Deputy Secretary-General of WTCF, said in an interview, "It is necessary to strengthen international cooperation and gather international forces amid COVID-19. The WTCF is willing to cooperate with other international organizations. We’ll look into opportunities and challenges that the epidemic has brought to global tourism investment and vigorously build a multilateral cooperation and service platform for world tourism, in order to contribute to the recovery of the global tourism industry."

Restore the Confidence, Pool Global Wisdom to Revitalize Tourism

Impacted by the COVID-19, the tourism industry of Wuhan pressed the “pause button” and entered a “dormant period” at the beginning of this year. On August 8th, Wuhan started an activity named “Traveling around Hubei for Free, Visiting Wuhan for Sightseeing”. For nearly a month, the city’s overall average daily tourist reception of scenic spots has increased by 34% year on year and the overall star hotel occupancy rate has increased by 13 percentage points, compared to the same period last year, with the number of out-of-province and out-of-city tourists accounting for 44.9%, which effectively drove the recovery and development of related service industries. “Wuhan is back to normal. Welcome to this heroic city and visit famous attractions,” Chen Honghui, Deputy Mayor of Wuhan, said passionately at the opening of the conference.

The recovery of tourism in Wuhan provided a good example for the recovery and development of the world tourism industry in the context of the COVID-19 outbreak. “We are currently encouraged to see that the tourism is recovering in China and also in some Asian countries, and we hope that the rest of the world will keep up with China to revitalize tourism respectively,” Ms. Gloria Guevara Manzo, President & CEO of WTTC said.

Group photo of delegates

Mr. David Pipinashvili, Minister Counselor of the Georgian embassy in China, stated that thanks to the effective implementation of anti-epidemic measures, Georgia has reopened its borders and is gradually resuming international flights. Anouar, Chief of Tunisian National Tourist Office, said that Tunisia has cooperated with a number of countries in North Africa to create new tour paths, which provide good opportunities for the development and recovery of Tunisia’s tourism industry. Tsuyoshi Yasuda, Chief of JTB in Beijing office, said that the Japanese government launched “Go To Travel” in July and “Go To Eat” would be launched in September. “We expect to use these policies as an opportunity to first boost the recovery of domestic tourism.” Commenting on the construction of Universal Studios Beijing, Tom Mehrmann, President and General Manager of the Universal Beijing Resort, said, “China is now the safest country in the world, and amid COVID-19, China has been very pragmatic and it has promoted its tourism economy, especially in Beijing. We have cooperated smoothly with the government, which has resumed and ensured the orderly and safe development of the project.”

Cruise tourism, a mobile holiday destination, has also suffered a significant blow due to the epidemic. Chen Ranfeng, Asian Chairman of Carnival Corporation & plc, said that cruise enterprises study how to restart sailing, improve safety and quality, and innovate cruise products, fighting the epidemic in their own way. “Carnival Corporation’s Costa Crociere restarted sailing to Trieste, Italy on September 6th. I believe that cruise business is wonderful and it is extremely resilient,” Chen Ranfeng said.

An amicable environment for investment is the key to promoting tourism recovery. As one of the important activities of the conference, the Tourism Investment and Financing Conference held on the afternoon of September 5th witnessed 21 potentially signed projects with a total value of 15.71 billion yuan. Mr. Chen Dong, Secretary-General of WTCF and General-Director of Beijing Municipal Bureau of Culture and Tourism, said confidently that although the epidemic has hit world tourism hard, the core products, service systems and basic needs of the industry still remain unchanged judging from the investment trend in the post-epidemic era. The overall trend of world tourism remains favorable for long-term growth after the epidemic. “Tourism will remain the most attractive sector for investment in the post-epidemic era.”

Signing ceremony

After the storm, the sky will be more beautiful. Chen Jining, Council President of WTCF and Mayor of Beijing, said, “The experience of epidemic prevention and control as well as economic and social development has made us even more confident that the unity and wisdom of mankind will eventually help us overcome difficulties and challenges.”

Lead the World in Tourism Innovation, Cooperation across Boundaries Promote the High-Quality Development of Tourism

Now, the prevention and control of the epidemic is still improving. Participants from the tourism industry of each country need to reach a consensus in terms of development lead the world in tourism innovation and cooperate across boundaries, in order to speed up the evolution of tourism. Chen Jining said that the epidemic hasn’t changed the public's love for tourism, but has given rise to a new mode, including dispersing tourists, personalized tourism, and reserving in advance, which creates new opportunities for growth and economic recovery.

In the sub-forum centered on “Tourism as a Catalyst for the Revitalization of the World Economy”, Chang Yang, Vice-President of Alibaba, said that this epidemic is a major crisis for the tourism industry, but in any industry, every “crisis” comes with “opportunities”. The epidemic has accelerated the digitalization of the cultural and tourism industry, enhancing the growth of new businesses and models, such as tourism live broadcasting, “cloud tourism” and “cloud view exhibitions”.

From the provision of digital tourism solutions to big data support for city development, the WTCF has actively tried using 5G, big data, artificial intelligence in recent years to provide better services for its member units. During 2020 CIFTIS, the WTCF set up a special exhibition venue, presenting a visual feast of “science and technology plus cultural tourism” and focusing on “new technology, new mode and new experience” for the audience. The exceptionally interesting exhibition venue attracted a lot of visitors. With the help of the app recognition technology, “WTCF AR”, John Aquilina, Ambassador of Malta to China, exclaimed after watching the scenery of Valletta across time and space, “The sun and sea I saw on the screen made me feel I was back in Malta. It’s so amazing.” Manasa R. Tagicakibau, Ambassador of Fiji to China, said, “We can have a wide variety of offline experiences as well as online communication. Even if we can’t see each other face to face, we can keep in touch with each other through technology all the time.”

While the epidemic has hit tourism industry, it has also brought new opportunities for development. Wu Bihu, expert of WTCF, said, “Risks are changing all the time. We must stick to innovation. Different markets need different policies.” In the keynote speech at the conference, Wang Hong, Executive Vice-President of WTCF and Deputy Mayor of Beijing, proposed that tourism industry should adhere to innovation and use the epidemic prevention and control as an opportunity to promote the renewal of world tourism. The WTCF encourages tourism cities and companies to make full use of the Internet, big data, intelligence and other modern scientific and technological ways, actively explore travel modes, crisis response and tourism management modules that are compatible with epidemic prevention and control, change traditional development methods and vigorously advocate new ones, including dispersing tourists, personalized tourism, and advance booking mechanisms. The WTCF will also encourage the sharing economy, effectively improve infrastructure of tourism as well as promote development of niche and customized tourism products.

“Overcoming numerous difficulties, China hosted such a major international economic and trade event in order to work together to overcome the difficulties, promote the development and prosperity of global services trade and speed up recovery of the world economy,” Xi Jinping, the supreme leader of China, said at the Global Trade in Services Summit of the 2020 CIFTIS on September 4th. Tourism services are one of the most dynamic elements of trade services, and the service providers also showed confidence and determination at the WCTCD to restart sailing, overcome difficulties, and create prosperity again. We have reasons to believe that under the promotion of WTCF and other international organizations, and with the joint efforts of the global tourism industry, the world tourism economy will be reborn with new vitality and vigour.

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