Remarks by the UNWTO Executive Director Zhu Shanzhong at the Opening Ceremony of the 8th World Tourism Cities Federation Fragrant Hills Summit

Publish Time:2019-09-03 16:54:18

【Introduction】:The ongoing partnership between UNWTO and the World Tourism Cities Federation is extremely valuable and fruitful.

Distinguished guests, Ladies and gentlemen,

On behalf of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), I am pleased to welcome you all to the 2019 WTCF Helsinki Fragrant Hills Tourism Summit, a highly important event held in Finland.

First of all, I would like to thank the World Tourism Cities Federation and the Municipality of Helsinki, for their generous hospitality and excellent organization of this event which has gathered mayors from around the world as well as important stakeholders from the tourism sector. I would like to extend my warm congratulations to the opening of this summit.

Dear Mrs. Wang Hong, Executive Vice Chairperson of WTCF Council and Vice Mayor of the City of Beijing,

Dear Mr. Song Yu, Secretary General of WTCF,

The ongoing partnership between UNWTO and the World Tourism Cities Federation is extremely valuable and fruitful. Our collaboration on many successful activities and projects bears ample testimony to the goodwill between us.

UNWTO and WTCF launched the City Tourism Performance Research in 2018 which highlights the success stories of 15 different cities worldwide with the objective of enabling other cities to observe and learn from these case studies.

For UNWTO it is highly encouraging to count upon the ongoing support of China, and to witness, first hand, the important role it places upon the tourism sector.

Last year, international tourist arrivals reached the 1.4 billion mark in 2018, two years ahead of UNWTO initial forecasts

Much of this growth was fueled by Chinese outbound travelers.

Today, China is the world’s largest source of outbound tourism. In 2012, China became the top spender in international tourism, generating currently around 20% of tourism receipts in destinations worldwide.

Dear Mr. Jan Vapaavuori, Mayor of the City of Helsinki

Helsinki is one of the leading cities in the world.

It offers access to the beauty of more than 300 islands and the UNESCO World Heritage sea fortress Suomenlina.

It has been recognized by the European Commission with the first place in its Capital of Smart Tourism 2019 Competition, in a clear appreciation for its accessibility, sustainability, digitalization, cultural heritage and creativity.

Helsinki is thus the perfect place for this summit under the theme of “Smart Tourism- Road to City Innovation and Development” and we are glad to be here.

Ladies and gentlemen,

According to the United Nations, in 2015, 54% of the world’s population lived in urban areas and that by 2030 this share is expected to grow to 60%,

Urban tourism has become one of the most important topics in our sector.

Innovation and digital transformation in tourism are key priorities of UNWTO of.

Cities play a crucial role in this transformation, and urban tourism is a catalyst for innovation.

The creation of Smart Cities holds enormous potential to generate a positive impact on citizens’ lives and visitors’ experience by making cities more liveable, manageable, sustainable and accessible.

It is the responsibility of UNWTO as the specialized agency of United Nations to support the UN New Urban Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals.

At the First UNWTO Mayors Forum for Sustainable Urban Tourism, held in Lisbon, Portugal, last April, the participating cities, including Helsinki, adopted the ‘Lisbon Declaration on Sustainable Urban Tourism’ which we hope will be endorsed by our General Assembly taking place next week in Saint Petersburg.

In this a series of reccomendations have been identified, in particular the need to invest in technology, innovation and partnerships to promote smart destinations and make the best of technology to better plan, measure and manage urban tourism.

Ladies and gentlemen,

A smart city goes much beyond innovation and technology.

It calls for a new vision on urban development and planning by placing the community and local engagement at the center of any conversation about socio-economic growth and sustainability.

On 9-12 October in NurSultan, Kazakhstan, UNWTO will organize the 8th UNWTO Global Summit on Urban Tourism which will focus on how developing smart cities can contribute to address complex urban tourism challenges.

We wish to bring together Mayors, Ministers of Tourism and the private sector to create a dialogue and action so that tourism can contribute effectively to the smart cities of the future and we hope to see you there to continue this dialogue we will have here in Helsinki.

Finally, I would like to reiterate once again my gratitude to the hosts for their hospitality, and wish all delegates a very successful and productive Summit.

Thank you.

Strategic Partner

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