Business / Economy

UNWTO praises China for using tourism to fight poverty

(Xinhua) Updated: 2015-08-05 09:44

MADRID - The United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has praised China for promoting rural tourism as a way to fight poverty, the organization said in a statement on Tuesday.

According to the organization, the China National Tourism Administration (CNTA) and the State Council Leading Group Office of Poverty Alleviation and Development (LGOP) of China have recently taken the decision of promoting "rural tourism as an effective means to fight poverty."

Between 2011 and 2014, more than 10 million people "were lifted out of poverty through tourism," the UNWTO said, citing data from Chinese tourism authorities. Moreover, China is launching a plan "to lift 17 percent of the country's impoverished population out of poverty by 2020."

UNWTO Secretary General, Taleb Rifai, who has recently met with officials of Chinese tourism authorities, said that tourism "is a labor-intensive sector providing a wide range of job and entrepreneurship opportunities in areas where other economic activities are often limited or in decay."

The CNTA and China's LGOP expect three million rural tourism businesses to receive two billion annual visitors by 2020, a fact that will allow lifting two million of China's rural population out of poverty every year.

The UNWTO has called on the occasion of the Third International Conference on Financing for Development for more investment in tourism. The UNWTO warned the sector "still receives limited attention as a tool for development."

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