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Tourism summit looks at globalization of cities

By Lia Zhu and Chang Jun in Los Angeles | China Daily USA | Updated: 2017-09-20 10:49

Tourism reps from 128 cities examine impact of their own booming success

About 400 delegates from 51 countries and 87 cities, including government officials and top executives, gathered on Tuesday in Los Angeles to examine the impact of globalization on tourism cities.

The sixth annual Fragrant Hill Tourism Summit, with the theme of "Impact of Globalization on World Tourism City Development," was co-organized by the World Tourism Cities Federation (WTCF) and Los Angeles Tourism and Convention Board.

"Since the WTCF was established in 2012, it has been upholding the concept of 'Better City Life through Tourism'," said Chen Jining, chairman of the WTCF Council and acting mayor of Beijing, which initiated the establishment of the WTCF.

"We encourage all the members to participate in tourism governance in the background of globalization and embrace the opportunities and challenges brought by globalization," Chen added, addressing the opening ceremony.

Chen also said that a more open, collaborative platform should be built to share resources and promote a more inclusive and balanced globalization in favor of robust tourism growth worldwide.

The tourism industry is an "incredible power" for the economy; it also stimulates intercultural dialogue and appreciation for diversity and drives technological efficiency and innovation, said Zhu Shanzhong, executive director of the United Nations World Tourism Organization.

In 2016, 300 million more tourists traveled worldwide, compared to pre-crisis 2008, according to Zhu. The tourism industry represents 10 percent of the world's GDP and 30 percent of the exported services in the world, he said.

Pressing urban issues need to be solved by the tourism cities for "future viabilities", such as community integration and poverty reduction, as two-thirds of the world's population lived in urban settings in 2015, said Zhu.

"We aren't just here for the dollars, we aren't just here to expand our businesses, we are here to connect as human beings with each other to find - at a moment when the world can sometimes seem divided - what unites us," Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti told the gathering.

In 2016, Los Angeles County hosted 47.3 million visitors, closer to its goal of receiving 50 million visitors by 2020.

"We all want visitors, we all want to show off our homes. But we don't want extra traffic and pollution," said Garcetti.

"By sharing the best practices, we can welcome millions of visitors in our cities and our countries, while at the same time doing well for the people who live there as well."

During the ceremony, the Los Angeles Declaration of World Tourism Cities Federation was announced, which calls on the members to further boost the tourism industry worldwide, improve tourism services, facilitate a collaborative and balanced development of world tourism, build up security for tourists and protect tourism resources.

The WTCF Council also chose Helsinki from three candidates to host the eighth WTCF Fragrant Hills Tourism Summit in 2019.

"The world of tourism has transformed rapidly," said Helsinki Deputy Mayor Pia Pakarinen.

"Not only have the numbers of tourists, destinations, connections and attractions grown, but also the ways we travel and what we want to experience when we are visiting new places have changed."

The development of tourism between China and Europe has been impressive since a Helsinki-Beijing direct flight was launched in 1988, the first non-stop commercial flight between Europe and China, said Pakarinen.

Next summer, Helsinki alone will have almost 40 weekly flights to China, she added.

At the ceremony, 19 new members were sworn into WTCF, bringing the total number of WTCF members to 193, including 128 cities in 62 countries and regions.

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Tourism summit looks at globalization of cities

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