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China Focus: Tourism industry representatives voice confidence in China's recovery at int'l fair

Xinhua | Updated: 2020-09-09 12:10
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Since its outbreak, COVID-19 has influenced and even stagnated many industries worldwide, and tourism is undoubtedly among the hardest hit.

At the 2020 China International Fair for Trade in Services (CIFTIS) held in Beijing, how to recover global tourism is one of the topics that has attracted industry representatives from across the world.

"The pandemic has brought tourism to a standstill. This has cost many jobs, but China has led the way of controlling the spread of the virus," said Zurab Pololikashvili, secretary-general of the United Nations World Tourism Organization, at the 2020 World Conference on Tourism Cooperation and Development, which is a core part of the fair.

"The national economy is gradually opening. The lifting of travel restrictions gives hopes to millions of people both in China and worldwide," he added.

Domestic tourism has started to recover since the effective control of COVID-19, said Sun Jie, CEO of China's online travel agency Ctrip. Some popular tourist attractions have recovered or have even surpassed levels of incoming tourists at the same period last year.

"Statistics show that the number of domestic flights in August recovered to more than 80 percent of the same period last year, and that number is expected to recover to 100 percent in September," Sun added.

"After the COVID-19 outbreak, we implemented a slew of measures including closing tourist attractions quickly, suspending the operations of travel agencies, and coordinating the returns of outbound tourists, which have effectively prevented epidemic risks in the field of tourism," said Hu Heping, minister of culture and tourism.

Hu added that the country has also adopted a series of rescue measures and policies such as financial supports and tax cuts to limit damage to the industry to a minimum.

On the basis of a broad consensus, a guideline was released at the conference, indicating countries around the world should promote new patterns such as customized tourism, drive innovation in tourism products, and make global tourism more intelligent and convenient.

"Tourism is an important embodiment of modern civilization. Society will lose its vitality without the flow of people," said Chen Dong, secretary-general of the World Tourism Cities Federation. "Countries, tourism companies and international organizations worldwide need to reach a consensus on how to work on COVID-19 prevention and control and the recovery of tourism."

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