BEIJING, China (eTN) – Hundreds of both high level management, government officials and journalists are currently here in the capital city of China for the tenth edition of the annual World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) ’s global travel and tourism summit.
At the event’s opening ceremony, WTTC chairman Geoffrey J W Kent welcomed the delegates, as did officials from Beijing, the Beijing Tourism Administration and the China National Tourism Administration (CNTA). Beijing Tourism Administration looked back at Beijing’s achievements in tourism including its successful stint as host of the Summer Olympic Games in 2008 and gave exciting insight on projects, while CNTA gave a progress report on both domestic and international tourism. Clearly, there is no denying that both China’s inbound and outbound tourist numbers are on a steady rise. The trend at the moment, however, for Chinese travelers is to travel either within China or to neighboring countries.
“Besides greatly furthering the internationalization of Beijing, the successful hosting of the 2008 Olympic Games has also created a better environment and more opportunities for the development of Beijing tourism,” said Zhang Huiguang, director of Beijing Tourism Administration said. “During the 2008 Olympic Games when over ten million domestic and overseas tourists came to Beijing, our star hotels, travel agents, inbound tour groups, and major tourist attractions achieved the goal of zero complaint, elevating the service quality of Beijing tourism to a new height.”
The Beijing tourism official also said: “This new height has become our standard and guideline of service and hospitality, and the “Olympic-style reception” and “Beijing-style service” have begun to be recognized by domestic and overseas tourists. Third, the quality of Beijing’s tourism resources has been greatly improved.”
On Beijing tourism as a whole, the Beijing official said: “Beijing has abundant tourism resources, and the 2008 Olympic Games have further enriched them and remarkably improved their quality. With the remodeling of its original tourism resources, the services and facilities of Beijing’s major tourist attractions have been further standardized and internationalized; “Bird’s Nest”, “Water Cube”, other Olympic venues and the Olympic Park have become fresh highlights of Beijing tourism; additionally, Beijing’s historic and cultural tourism resources have been excavated and enhanced, and the number of its modern shopping centers and places of recreation has substantially increased. In short, the successful hosting the 29th Olympic Games has brought Beijing tourism into a new era of development.”
Beijing Tourism Administration director Zhang Huiguang also said: “After a period of hard work, Beijing expects to increase its tourism income to account for more than 10 percent of its entire GDP, reap an annual income of over US$10 billion from inbound tourism, receive over 10 million inbound tourists, and attract some 200 million domestic tourists. According to her, to meet the requirements of a world-class tourism city, Beijing is developing a high level tourism development scheme, and various tourism infrastructure, public service facilities and tourist attractions will be planned as necessary for the needs of urban construction and functional orientation to accelerate its steps toward the goal.
“The second is to vigorously develop high-end international tourism. Beijing will fully exploit its advantages as the capital as well as the political and cultural hub of China, promote the high-end development of tourism, and strive to build itself into an international convention and exhibition capital and a high-end tourist destination,” she added. “In its efforts to develop and improve high-end tourism products, it will actively organize various events of global influence, strengthen strategic cooperation with the International Tourism Organization, seek in-depth development of high-end areas and high-end sources of tourists, and continuously step up the internationalization of Beijing tourism.”
She added, the third is to forcefully push forward the construction of major tourism projects. By investing in tourism projects, Beijing will be able to enrich its supply of tourism products, stimulate tourism spending, and bring about a qualitative leap forward in its industry of tourism. “By 2015, Beijing will have constructed a number of key tourism projects, tourism-generating destinations, and ecological leisure and holiday resorts. At the Beijing Tourism Projects Promotion Conference last morning, we launched 30 projects. In the days to come, we will launch more projects, and all the guests present here are welcome to invest in Beijing.”
In her speech, the Beijing Tourism Administration director stated that Beijing is to aggressively promote the development of industrial integration. “Beijing will endeavor to build itself into a destination of tourism and performances by integrating tourism and cultural industries; to turn itself into an international urban tourism and business destination by integrating tourism and business; and to cultivate itself into a new-type tourist hot spots by integrating tourism and industry, agriculture, sports, science and technology, education, and other sectors.”
And finally, the travel and tourism industry can expect for Beijing to comprehensively upgrade its tourism services. “Beijing will, in accordance with international tourism service standards, enhance its tourism public service system, speed up the construction of tourism ‘informatization,’ and further improve its tourism service quality to best meet the demands of tourists both at home and from abroad.”
Meanwhile, Beijing Mayor Guo Jinlong said: “WTTC’s global travel and tourism summit is a major event for the development of our tourism sector. Tourism is in fact moving fast to become a pillar of our economy as it now represents 7 percent of our local GDP. Since we are already the political and culture centre of China, we aim to provide the highest standards of service to turn Beijing into a green, world-class tourism destination.”
For his part, United Nations World Tourism Organization secretary general Taleb Rifai, who made his second appearance at a WTTC global summit, said, “China is without a doubt a world class destination.”
Citing China’s impressive numbers, the UNWTO head also said, ““We are looking at you China, in the eyes of the world, for leadership.”