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China's Tourism Development

Beijing and even China lagging in tourism development, Beijing vice mayor says

Nelson Alcantara  Jun 02, 2010

BEIJING, China (eTN) – If there is one clear message that China wanted to tell in hosting this year’s edition of the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC)’s annual global travel and tourism summit, it would be this: Beijing tourism is building itself to become a world-class tourist city and embark upon the march toward the “World City.” This message was clearly one of the main focal points in the speech delivered by Ding Xiangyang, Beijing’s vice mayor, during the two-day summit held here in the Chinese capital city.

Vice Mayor Xiangyang said: “Beijing is the capital of China, as well as a city with the concentrated tourism resources in China and the world-renowned tourist destination. Currently Beijing has entered a new phase of building the modern international metropolis on a full scale. It is striding toward the top-level form of building international metropolis—world city. In this process, Beijing shall foster and develop tourism as an advantageous and important pillar industry, and push forward in full swing the building of internationally first-rate tourism city. The grand development of tourism and the building of internationally first-rate tourism city is the first step for Beijing to march toward the world city.”

He added: “For a long time, Beijing municipal government has attached great importance to the development of tourism. It has mapped out the tourism development strategy of ‘propelling development with the double wheels of investment and consumption, fostering the dual urban and rural markets, and cultivating common development through regional cooperation.’ Beijing’s tourism is gradually developing into the important pillar industry and the new economic growth point.”

But not all is well, according to the vice mayor, as judging by the current situation, he believes that Beijing’s tourism and even the tourism of China as a whole is still at the primary stage of development. “Compared with the world cities, Beijing is still lagging far behind in its tourism development,” he said.

Vice Mayor Xiangyang, in his speech cited four reasons for his assessment. “Firstly, there is lack of awareness as to the importance of the tourism industry, and no consensuses have been reached within society on developing tourism as an industry. Secondly, policy support is improper and industry discriminations exist. Thirdly, an overall, forward-looking, and high-level tourist development plan urgently needs to be mapped out. Lastly, the tourist structure is not perfectly reasonable: low-end sightseeing tourism grows rapidly, recreational tourist products are in short supply, and high-end commerce, convention and exhibition, and incentive tourism lags behind.”

However, the vice mayor seemed optimistic that Beijing will ultimately meet its goal. “Although Beijing’s tourism still has a very long way to go before meeting the standard of world city, more than thirty years of reform and opening and the successful hosting of the Olympic Games have pushed forward the sustained and fast development of Beijing’s tourism,” he said. “Now, Beijing has possessed the advantages and conditions for the new round of grand development.”

United Nations World Tourism Organization secretary general Taleb Rifai also believes that a “strong partnerships require strong partners.” He said, “Recent developments have revealed some of the structural weaknesses of the tourism sector, both within the private and the public domains.”

According to Mr. Rifai, there is clearly a need to revisit our business models in order to master innovation and technology as much as there is a need to develop comprehensive, clear and strong public policies.

He then noted that that the WTTC summit is “an excellent opportunity to discuss how to reset our public-private partnerships based on innovative business models and practices on the one hand, and clear forward-looking public policies on the other.”

WTTC's Beijing summit, held on May 26 to 27, 2010, was attended by hundreds of high level private and public tourism luminaries.

Separately, this correspondent was among the lucky delegates who got visit the Badaling section of the iconic The Great Wall of China. View the raw video file here: [youtube:PbUARr7uDXs]

Beijing and even China lagging in tourism development, Beijing vice mayor says
Photo by Nelson Alcantara

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