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World unites on tourism at development conference

By Li Jinzao ( China Daily ) Updated: 2016-05-19 08:47:02

 World unites on tourism at development conference

The Palace Museum is a leading Beijing tourist attraction.[Photo by Wang Zhuangfei/China Daily]

The First World Conference on Tourism for Development, which holds its opening ceremony in Beijing on Thursday, allows us to jointly shape the future of the world. Though China's tourism industry is behind in its development compared to other countries, the nation has emerged as a major destination for tourism and has maintained strong growth momentum.

Since 2012, China has led the world in overseas tourism consumption, at more than 13 percent of the annual global tourism revenue, according to the United Nations World Tourism Organization.

In 2015, the country recorded more than 4.1 billion domestic tourist trips, 120 million outbound visits and 130 million international tourist arrivals.

The tourism industry contributed more than 10.8 percent to China's GDP last year, and 10.2 percent of the jobs created in the country have come from the tourism sector.

For more than 30 years, tourism development in the country has focused on the building of scenic spots, tourist attractions, restaurants and hotels, which is often called the model of "scenic tourism".

However, under the current model, the construction and operation of tourist spots and attractions are separated and isolated from the rest of the society. What's inside the tourist spots and what's outside are like two different worlds.

It is imperative that we shift toward a new model of "holistic development of tourism destinations".

Under this model, the country is managed as a tourism destination with standardized functions and the tourism industry is placed at the heart of national development.

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