Chinese a tourism language now
The United Nations World Tourism Organization and the Spanish government have announced that Chinese has formally become an official language of the UNWTO since Jan 25.
That means the organization will use the Chinese language, enhancing China's soft power in global tourism and, by extension, the cultural domain.
It will help China's tourism growth, encouraging other countries to adopt its policies.
Tourist places in China too will get more exposure, encouraging more people globally to learn the Chinese language.
China's influence in the cultural and tourism sectors will definitely grow.
There are two main reasons for that. First, Chinese cultural and tourism authorities have been promoting Chinese culture for long.
As far back as in 2006, Spring Festival was listed as a national cultural heritage and given special protection and promoted. Now, there are many influential festival lists in the world and almost all of them list the Chinese New Year, or Spring Festival; many even list it at the top.
Second, the year-on-year growth in the number of Chinese tourists before 2020 too has played a part in promoting the Chinese language and culture. In 2019, the number of cross-border visitors in China exceeded 670 million. That means, globally, Chinese faces have become common at scenic spots.
Although the data for 2020 have not been published yet, the numbers are expected to have fallen because of the outbreak of the novel coronavirus. But since China brought the epidemic largely under control, the number of tourists, at least intra-country, might still be significant.
That has a lot to do with China's improving economy and the constantly rising per capita income. Only with enough disposable income at hand can people enjoy traveling abroad, and promoting Chinese culture across the world.
With China's growing comprehensive capabilities, it is hoped that its influence in other soft power domains will also grow.
－GONG JIAN, EXECUTIVE DEAN AT THE WUHAN BRANCH OF THE CHINA TOURISM ACADEMY