The Chairman of the China National Tourism
Administration (CNTA), Mr. Shao Qiwei, and UNWTO
Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai, have agreed to strengthen
cooperation between both organizations as a key step towards
advancing China’s tourism development objectives.
On the occasion of his visit to Spain last
receive the UNWTO Award for Lifetime Achievement, Mr. Shao also
met with the Minister of Industry, Energy and Tourism of Spain,
Mr. José Manuel Soria.
Meeting Mr. Rifai, Chairman Shao stressed the importance of
collaboration with UNWTO in achieving the new objectives of China’s tourism policy, a sector identified by the Central
Government of China as one of the pillars of the country’s economy.
“The focus in China is now on quality and sustainability.
That is, while the tourism sector has grown significantly over the
past years in terms of volume, the future of the sector should
focus on the diversification of tourism products, on environmental
protection, on the quality of the workforce and overall quality
over quantity. In this respect UNWTO support and guidance is of
the upmost importance,” said Chairman Shao.
Mr. Rifai said, “UNWTO is very
supportive of China’s tourism strategy and is committed to
supporting its tourism administration. There can
be no tourism growth without responsibility and sustainability and
thus we are extremely pleased to see that China, one of the
world’s major tourism destinations and source markets, is putting
quality and sustainability at the heart of its tourism policy
Since 2006, UNWTO has supported the
establishment of five Sustainable Tourism Observatories in China
which are at the forefront of efforts to convert UNWTO theoretical
criteria on sustainable tourism into practice at the destination
Meeting with Minister Soria of Spain, Mr. Shao
further stressed that in spite of the current deficit in China’s
tourism balance due to slower growth in inbound tourism compared
to outbound in 2012, the Chinese Government has not changed its strategy of encouraging outbound tourism.
“With 148 countries now
included in the list of ‘Approved Destination Status’ (ADS), the
government, and particularly CNTA, will continue to promote the
traveling of Chinese people abroad as we believe in the mutual
benefits of collaboration – by continuing to send Chinese
travellers to Europe, the benefits will eventually flow back to
In 2012, 80 million Chinese travelled abroad, while 2.9
billion domestic trips were registered.
meeting, Mr. Rifai highlighted the role of UNWTO in
bringing together two world tourism leaders. “Spain is a reservoir
of tourism experience and know-how built over more than 150 years
of tourism history and China is an emerging tourism ‘giant’. Spain
can share its knowledge and experience with China and China can
share its opportunities with Spain and through its tourists
benefit not only Spain, but the entire European region,” he said.
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