From November 27 to 30, 2023, the WTCF Africa Regional Conference Tunisia 2023, jointly held by the World Tourism Cities Federation (hereinafter referred to as "WTCF"), the Ministry of Tourism and Handicrafts of Tunisia, and Tunisian National Tourist Office, was successfully held in Tunisia. Themed "New Era of China-Africa Tourism Cooperation", this conference, aligning with the global trend of the recovery and development of the tourism industry and consolidating the ten years of achievements of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), is a significant event in fostering international tourism cooperation between China and Africa.
The conference featured an opening ceremony, a section for keynote speeches, a special forum, a tourism B2B matching event, etc. More than 200 representatives of media agencies, tourism enterprises, investment institutions, scientific research institutes, tourism organizations, airlines and other entities from 16 countries and regions including Tunisia, Zimbabwe, Nigeria and China attended the conference.
Mohamed Moez Belhassine, Minister of the Ministry of Tourism and Handicrafts of Tunisia, Wan Li, Ambassador of the People's Republic of China to the Republic of Tunisia, and Li Baochun, Executive Deputy Secretary-General of WTCF, attended the opening ceremony and delivered speeches. Belhassine said that the relationship between Tunisia and China has been exemplary in the world's history and should be strengthened in multiple dimensions, especially in the tourism industry. Belhassine further stated that, as a member of the BRI, Tunisia is willing to collaborate with China to deepen the bilateral cooperation in the field of tourism. Wan stressed that the 2023 World Tourism Cities Federation Africa Regional Conference Tunisia 2023 was held at the right time, and expected that the conference, based on the situation of the development of tourism in the post-epidemic era, would bring more opportunities to the cooperation between and growth of the tourism industries of the two countries, and open a new chapter marked by the continuous progress in tourism cooperation. Li pointed out that by leveraging the development platform of BRI, all stakeholders can strengthen the development of African tourist destinations and the cooperation between Chinese and African tourism enterprises, to facilitate the diversified development of the connectivity between tourism and trade, and advance China-Africa cooperation in the field of tourism to a higher level.
Mohamed Moez Belhassine, Minister of Tourism and Handicrafts of Tunisia, is delivering a speech.
Wan Li, Ambassador of the People's Republic of China to the Republic of Tunisia, is delivering a speech.
Li Baochun, Executive Deputy Secretary-General of WTCF, is delivering a speech.
During the special forum, professionals from academia, the tourism industry and media, focusing on the mutual benefits and cooperation in the tourism industry under the framework of BRI, shared regional tourism resources and projects. They also discussed how to maximize the advantages of various platforms, media outlets and tourism organizations under the framework of BRI, in a bid to promote openness of the tourism sectors of countries and regions as well as the tourism cooperation between them, and gave constructive suggestions on the development and promotion of tourism resources in Africa and Tunisia.
Venue of the conference
More than 200 Tunisian tourism practitioners received training during the section "Special Training on International Tourism Destination Management" which has improved their understanding of the Chinese tourism market and Chinese tourists' consumption habits, and contributed to the internationalization and modernization of Tunisia's local tourism services simultaneously.
A tourism B2B matching event was also launched during the conference, where 10 flagship travel agency companies from China and more than 70 tourism enterprises in Tunisia engaged in more than 600 one-to-one business negotiations. Helmi Hassine, Director-General of Tunisian National Tourist Office commented that this matching event marks a significant milestone for the development of Tunisia's tourism industry, and expressed his gratitude for WTCF's support. Hassine continued that Tunisia is willing to build more cooperative ties with the tourism agency companies in China to provide more varied tourism products and quality services for tourists.
During the conference, a letter of intent on quadrilateral cooperation was jointly signed by WTCF, Tunisian National Tourist Office, Tunisair, and Capital Airports Holdings Co., Ltd. This achievement lays a solid foundation for the early realization of direct flights between China and Tunisia, providing new opportunities and momentum for the development of the tourism industries of both countries.
The signing ceremony of the letter of intent on quadrilateral cooperation
The commencement of this conference coincided with the 10th anniversary of BRI, Tunisia's 5th anniversary of joining BRI, as well as the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Tunisia, among other occasions of vital significance. The fruitful achievements of the conference affirm the global trend of the recovery of the tourism industries worldwide. Meanwhile, following the guiding principles of the Beijing Initiative for Deepening Cooperation on Connectivity, Initiative on International Trade and Economic Cooperation Framework for Digital Economy and Green Development, and Green Investment and Finance Partnership, among other cooperation initiatives reached in the Third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation (2023), the conference consolidated the achievements of BRI, and played a bridging role in strengthening the China-Africa friendship, and enhancing regional cultural integration, mutual learning among civilizations and people-to-people bond.
Headquartered in Beijing, WTCF is the world's first international tourism organization focusing on cities, with a total of 244 members including 164 city members and 80 institutional members, as well as 337 branch members, covering 85 countries and regions in five continents and the entire industry chain of the global tourism industry. Guided by the core vision of "Better City Life through Tourism", since its establishment in 2012, WTCF has been committed to building a multilateral exchange platform for the global tourism industry, promoting featured products as well as the development experiences of tourism cities, and facilitating the cooperation between and development of tourism cities around the world. WTCF has cultivated four branded conferences, including the regional conferences. So far, WTCF has organized multiple offline regional tourism conferences in Penang (Malaysia), Bogota (Colombia), Sevilla (Spain), Panama City (Panama), Samarkand (Uzbekistan) and other cities, vigorously promoting tourism exchanges and cooperation among the regional cities and providing strong development impetus for the regional tourism industry.
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