On 3 September, 2021 WTCF Beijing Fragrant Hills Tourism Summit & World Conference on Tourism Cooperation and Development opened at the China National Convention Center, Beijing. It was organized by the World Tourism Cities Federation (WTCF) and the People's Government of Beijing Municipality, together with major international organizations and tourism institutions.
The event was the only summit forum organized by an international organization during the 2021 China International Fair for Trade in Services (CIFTIS). Themed "Revitalizing World Tourism and Energizing City Development", it was composed of seven parts, namely the Opening Ceremony, Global Perspective, Special Forum, Keynote Speeches, Research Results Release, Dialogue on the Sustainable Development of Tourism Cities, and Sub-forums. Present at the forum were more than 360 guests from 40 countries. The conference was highly relevant in the global context of pandemic containment as well as tourism recovery. It was of great significance for promoting the peaceful, inclusive and sustainable development of global tourism under the new normal of pandemic prevention and control.
The event was livestreamed to the whole world, especially more than 200 WTCF members from over 150 cities in 78 countries and regions, featuring both on-site and online multi-lingual support in the five languages of Chinese, English, French, Spanish and Russian.
Tourism is known as the bellwether and driving engine of the global economy. Tourism recovery and revitalization are crucial for the recovery and development of the global economy. The annual event of WTCF has attracted industry representatives from around the world to discuss development trend and strategies of tourism revitalization amidst the pandemic.
Hu Heping, Minister of Culture and Tourism of China, delivers a speech at the 2021 WTCF Beijing Fragrant Hills Tourism Summit & World Conference on Tourism Cooperation and Development on September 3, 2021. [Photo provided by WTCF]
At the opening ceremony, Hu Heping, Minister of Culture and Tourism of China, delivered a speech. He noted that ever since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, China has been vigorously coordinating all the work to support pandemic prevention and control as well as promote tourism recovery. Its efforts have paid off, and the tourism market has seen a steady rebound. "In the first half of 2021, the number of domestic trips in China reached 1.87 billion, more than 60 percent of the same period in 2019".
Currently, COVID-19 is exacerbating the instability and uncertainty facing the global economy, while all countries tend to promote opening-up and cooperation. Hu Heping suggested that nations around the world should deepen international tourism cooperation for mutual benefits and win-win outcomes, strengthen coordination to help tourism enterprises through, encourage innovation and creation to promote further development of tourism, create opportunities in times of opening-up, tackle challenges through cooperation, join hands to enhance the high-quality development of world tourism.
Chen Jining, Chairman of WTCF Council and Mayor of Beijing, delivers a speech at the opening ceremony of 2021 WTCF Beijing Fragrant Hills Tourism Summit & World Conference on Tourism Cooperation and Development on 3 September, 2021. [Photo provided by WTCF]
Chen Jining, Chairman of WTCF Council and Mayor of Beijing, stated in his speech that world tourism is witnessing comprehensive recovery and reforms. Now it's beginning to reshape itself and shows strong vitality. Amidst the pandemic, the tourism sector has been taking effective measures and exploring a series of new business forms and patterns. WTCF will play a key role as an international tourism organization to promote the globalization of tourism, continuously enhance cooperation and exchanges among tourism cities, and join hands with all members to go through the bad times. Chen Jining pointed out that Beijing where WTCF is headquartered has shown strong resilience and built a solid foundation for tourism recovery. "At the next stage, Beijing will enhance exchanges, cooperation and experience sharing with WTCF member cities and institutions, so as to contribute more for the global tourism revitalization".
Zurab Pololikashvili, Secretary-General of the World Tourism Organization, delivers an opening speech via the video at the 2021 WTCF Beijing Fragrant Hills Tourism Summit & World Conference on Tourism Cooperation and Development on 3 September, 2021. [Photo provided by WTCF]
At the opening ceremony, Zurab Pololikashvili, Secretary-General of the World Tourism Organization, delivered a video speech. He noted that global vaccination is helping tourism markets in numerous countries recover from the pandemic. In early July, UNWTO held the UNWTO Mayors Forum for Sustainable Urban Tourism and released the Porto Declaration on Tourism and the Future of Cities, calling on all sides to take action and promote tourism development. Zurab Pololikashvili underscored that the core concept of the declaration is fully in line with that of Agenda for the Future Development of World Tourism Cities (2021-2030) released at the event. He believes that the cooperation between UNWTO and WTCF will facilitate the implementation of the crucial agenda and promote the recovery and sustainable development of cities around the world through tourism revitalization.
Vladimir Norov, Secretary-General of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, addresses the participants via the video at the 2021 WTCF Beijing Fragrant Hills Tourism Summit & World Conference on Tourism Cooperation and Development on 3 September, 2021. [Photo provided by WTCF]
Vladimir Norov, Secretary-General of the World Tourism Organization, also addressed the participants via the video. He noted that COVID-19 not only brings daunting challenges to global tourism but also offers new opportunities for tourism development. "Contactless services based on information and communication technology, such as virtual tourism and cloud exhibitions, have reduced operation costs, improved service quality and the sector's ability to deal with emergencies. This will help create a new and high quality tourism environment." Vladimir Norov observed that SCO, WTCF and UNWTO have established close partnerships. In this context, he suggested further that a trilateral cooperation outline will better enhance tourism development amidst the pandemic.
Ángeles Muñoz Oriol, Mayor of Marbella (Spain) on behalf of New Members, delivers a speech via the video at the 2021 WTCF Beijing Fragrant Hills Tourism Summit & World Conference on Tourism Cooperation and Development on 3 September, 2021. [Photo provided by WTCF]
Mayor of Marbella (Spain) on behalf of New Members, Mayors of Beijing's sister cities and WTCF members, including Wellington, Seoul, Helsinki, and Buenos Aires, also sent video messages expressing their expectations toward cooperation of the international community in overcoming the challenges and promoting world tourism recovery.
WTCF, voluntarily formed in 2012 by famous tourism cities and tourism-related institutions in the world under the initiative of Beijing, is the world's first international tourism organization focusing on cities. Guided by the core vision of "Better City Life Through Tourism", WTCF has provided an integrated global platform of world tourism for members to exchange experience, reinforce cooperation and build consensus. The Summit and Conference has, through the exchanges and experience sharing of the global tourism sector, given play to the platform role of WTCF in revitalizing world tourism and energizing city development as an international organization, and offering a blueprint for the future sustainable development of global tourism cities.
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