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Feb 24, 2023

UNWTO lauds ‘Reopening of China’

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Foreign Affairs News Desk

The United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has heralded the re-opening of China as ‘the final piece in tourism’s recovery’ from the biggest crisis in the sector’s history.

UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili warmly welcomed the lifting of travel restrictions as a major boost to economic growth and social opportunity both in Asia and the Pacific and globally, said the report.

According to UNWTO data, the pandemic cost destinations worldwide a combined US $270 billion in Chinese outbound tourist spending in 2020 and 2021 alone.

The re-opening of borders therefore represents “the moment the world has been waiting for,” Pololikashvili noted.

The UNWTO Secretary-General is the first UN Head of Agency to visit China since restrictions were lifted.

China’s Minister of Culture and Tourism Hu Heping welcomed UNWTO’s support throughout the pandemic and for joining the official re-opening celebrations.

In a bilateral meeting, Minister Hu Heping and Secretary-General Pololikashvili agreed to further deepen their collaboration around positioning tourism on the agenda for international development cooperation and in the key areas of tourism education and tourism for rural development.

UNWTO was welcomed as a partner of the Xianghu Dialogue, organized by the World Tourism Alliance (WTA) in the city of Hangzhou. it added.

Key topics addressed over the two days included promoting collaborative tourism development amongst countries and regions, international cooperation and poverty reduction through tourism, smart connectivity, destination management and planning, and innovation and new business models.

Also, UNWTO will return to China in September for the Global Tourism Economic Forum (GTEF), to be held in Macau.

The tenth edition of the Forum will again provide a platform for governments, business leaders, experts, and academics to advance shared plans for the sustainable development of tourism.