Tourism and travel can support the G20 stimulation programs. It creates jobs, boosts development, and promotes open, two-way trade. It can also play a part in the transformation towards a new green economy. China’s vibrant tourism sector can become a model for other nations and a world leader.
Addressing the Boao Forum for Asia on “Tourism and the Financial Crisis,”
UNWTO assistant secretary-general Geoffrey Lipman explained that tourism – business and leisure travel – can play a role in the G20-led economic recovery, stating, “Tourism is a service industry and that means people – not only in the sector but throughout the value chain, in areas such as manufacturing for transport, construction for infrastructure, and agriculture for food.” He added, “It’s also a development lifeline – for the poorest countries; tourism is a major export. China, which has emerged as a world leader in tourism, is on course to becoming the top domestic, inbound and outbound market in the world and thus has a vital role to play.”
The chairman of China’s National Tourism Administration (CNTA) Shao Qiwei affirmed that China’s actions to counter the financial crisis would help global tourism, saying, “Policies from both central government and local governments to boost consumption will sustain domestic and outbound tourism.” He added that “reviving global tourism needed efforts from all countries and regions. China would contribute its part, with other nations, to help the industry recover.”
UNWTO is also calling for recognition of the potential for the sector to contribute to the long-term transformation to a green economy based on reduced carbon outputs, clean energy, and new technologies. Mr. Lipman said, “We account for 5 percent of carbon emissions, and we have to fix that in line with new norms, which will be developed at the UNFCCC in Copenhagen at the end of this year – in a timely, globally-meaningful and appropriately-differentiated way. So we need smart tourism that links wise growth with clear carbon reduction. We must adapt, mitigate, and use technology as never before. And we must secure financing for the poorest countries to stay in the game.”
The meeting took place on Hainan Island, which is being developed as an international tourism island by China, with the support of UNWTO.