World / G20 summit

Tourism hailed as way to realize goals

By Su Zhou (China Daily) Updated: 2016-05-27 07:38

 Tourism hailed as way to realize goals

From left: An old waterfront street in Huzhou, the scenic area Xikou in Ningbo, and the former residence of Lu Xun in Shaoxing.Photos Provided To China Daily

China has vowed to boost tourism to G20 countries by enhancing cooperation, encouraging investment, removing visa barriers and adding direct international fights.

During the seventh G20 Tourism Ministers Meeting on May 20, Li Jinzao, director of the China National Tourism Administration, said Beijing will seek more agreements that allow visas on arrival and more visa waivers. It will also simplify customs clearance procedures.

Tourism was recognized as "a vehicle for job creation, economic growth and development" during the G20 leaders meeting in June 2012. Now, the number of international tourists and the volume of tourism revenue in G20 economies accounts for 70 percent of the world's total. China, which is hosting the G20 summit this year, is now the world's largest tourism market for both domestic and outbound travelers.

"To contribute more to tourism exchanges between G20 economies, we will also encourage second- and third-tier cities to launch international tourism cooperation ventures and forge more sister-city ties to promote tourism," Li said. "We will encourage Chinese companies to invest more overseas. In addition, we will also welcome foreign companies to invest in Chinese tourism industries and develop more classic travel routes along the Silk Road."

Li also called on other countries to provide "customized services" for Chinese travelers.

"In the coming five years, the number of outbound Chinese tourists will pass 500 million," Li said. "We hope other countries will consider Chinese tourists' needs and habits and offer more Chinese tour guides, more Chinese signage, more appropriate hotel facilities and Chinese television programs."

The declaration issued at the end of the seventh G20 Tourism Ministers Meeting agreed to further encourage the G20 to consider travel and tourism as important sectors in delivering the objective of the G20 of building new sources of growth and development.

G20 leaders will meet in September in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province.

United Nation World Tourism Organization Secretary-General Taleb Rifai said he hopes the Meeting of G20 Tourism Ministers will help "shed some light and devise some common actions that support their agenda toward an 'Innovative, Invigorated, Interconnected and Inclusive World Economy'".

"Today, the global economic recovery continues but has weakened," Rifai said. "At the same time, we face high levels of unemployment and growing inequality as stressed by the Chinese G20 Agenda.

"Tourism is one of the most dynamic, resilient and interconnected sectors of the global economy. In 2015, despite increasing global challenges, 50 million more people traveled abroad compared with the previous year. For this reason, tourism is without doubt one sector better positioned to support the G20 in its quest for new ways to drive development and creative policy ideas."

Rifai said tourism should contribute to the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda and its 17 universal Sustainable Development Goals. "Tourism has been included in three of the Sustainable Development Goals," he added. "Yet tourism, crosscutting nature and with a multiplier effect on many other sectors, is a perfect fit to advance all 17 Goals."

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