On September 4th, Song Yu, Secretary-General of the World Tourism Cities Federation(WTCF) , passed the flag symbolizing the rite of passage of the 2020 Fragrant Hills Tourism Summit from the mayor of Helsinki Jan Vapaavuori to Beijing’s delegates. This not only symbolized the successful closing of the 2019 WTCF Helsinki Fragrant Hills Tourism Summit, but also meant that the Fragrant Hills Tourism Summit will be held once gain in Beijing, the headquarters of theWTCF, after 6 years.
Passing of the Flag
The WTCF was established voluntarily by a large number of global cities and relevant agencies answering the call of Beijing in 2012. It is the world’s first international tourism organization centered on cities. Based on the core concept of “tourism making city life better”, the organization is devoted to enhancing the communication and cooperation among members by promoting the development of global tourism. The Fragrant Hills Tourism Summit is the hallmark ofthe WTCF and its main platform to boost communication and cooperation among international cities in the world. Since 2012, the summit has convened 8 times, the first three in Beijing, the fourth in Rabat and Fezis, the fifth in Chongqing, the sixth in Los Angeles, the seventh in Qingdao and the eighth in Helsinki. During the 2018 Qingdao Fragrant Hills Tourism Summit, the WTCF Council unanimously agreed to hold the 2020 WTCF General Meeting and the 2020 Fragrant Hills Tourism Summit in the WTCF headquarters of Beijing.
The 2019 WTCF Helsinki Fragrant Hills Tourism Summit boasted of plentiful activities and achievements. The summit included the opening ceremony, the keynote speeches, the theme forum, the council meeting, special dialogues, press conferences, exhibitions and tourism trading. During the summit, the WTCF released important academic reports like the Global Report on Smart Tourism in Cities and the 2019 Annual Report on Development of World Tourism Cities. Moreover, the WTCF has signed a MOU with the World Tourism Organization(the UNWTO) and contracts with Samarkand, Uzbekistan and the Tourism Ministry of Cote d’lvoire. The contracts showed that Samarkand will be the host city of the November WTCF Asia Pacific Regional Tourism Conference and that Cote d’lvoire will host the 2020 WTCF Regional Conference on Africa.
Song Yu, Secretary-General of the WTCF, giving a presentation
Song Yu, Secretary-General of the WTCF, attended the closing ceremony and gave a speech. He stated that this summit was a high-level international gathering of over 500 representatives of international organizations, tourism cities and enterprises. During the summit, the global delegates held discussions and offered constructive suggestions centering on the theme of smart tourism.. At the same time, the summit has released unprecedented research reports on tourism, hence providing reference for the innovative development of tourism in cities around the globe. Song Yu stated: “We firmly believe that this summit will exert a great influence on the innovative development of tourism cities around the globe.”
On the subject of the host city of this year’s summit, ,Song Yu said that Helsinki has done an outstanding job as an active participator of international affairs and impressed attendees with the city’s aesthetic appeal.. In 2020, the Fragrant Hills Tourism Summit will be held once again in the headquarters of Beijing. Song earnestly invited the attendees to Beijing to feel the new pulse of this ancient city dating back thousands of years.
Mayor of Helsinki, Jan Vapaavuori giving a thank-you speech
When the mayor of Helsinki, Jan Vapaavuori gave his speech of gratitude, he said that the city of Helsinki has enhanced its communication and experience sharing through smart tourism development, hence began new and effective collaborations by establishing partnerships with attendees. Jan Vapaavuori also shared his insights on how to ensure the sustainable development of tourism industries. In the modern era, digitization has exerted a great influence on tourism and urban development. Society needs to initiate smarter initiatives in order to further promote the sustainable development of this sector. For this, Jan Vapaavuori called on all parties to enhance relations and promote the growth of smart tourism so as to create a better future for humanity.
Tian Jingui, Beijng delegate and Director of the Human Resources Department of Beijing Culture and Tourism Bureau, giving an address
After the flag was handed over, Tian Jingui, Beijng delegate and Director of the Human Resources Department of Beijing Culture and Tourism Bureau, gave an address. He said that Beijing is not only an ancient city dating back more than 3,000 years but also an international metropolis whose economic aggregate exceeded 3 trillion yuan and the number of tourists per year exceeds 300 million. In 2022, Beijing will host the Winter Olympics. Tian Jingui stated: “Beijing will, according to the standards for the Olympic Games, make sufficient preparations for the Fragrant Hills Tourism Summit and witness an international tourism festival with the most prominent features of the capital.”
The Secretary-General of the WTCF Song Yu (right) presented a token of appreciation to the mayor of Helsinki, Jan Vapaavuori on behalf of the WTCF
At the closing ceremony, Song Yu also presented an extraordinary memento to Helsinki on behalf of the WTCF as a token of appreciation for the great contribution the city has made to the summit.
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