UNWTO and China strengthen cooperation
"UNWTO is very supportive of China's tourism strategy and is committed to supporting its tourism administration," said Mr. Rifai. "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 objectives."
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 level.
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 China." In 2012, 80 million Chinese travelled abroad, while 2.9 billion domestic trips were registered.
Attending the historic 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.
Rut Gómez Sobrino
Principal Media Officer
Phone: (+34) 91 567 81 60
About World Tourism Organization (UNWTO)
The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) is the United Nations agency responsible for the promotion of responsible, sustainable and universally accessible tourism. As the leading international organization in the field of tourism, UNWTO promotes tourism as a driver of economic growth, inclusive development and environmental sustainability and offers leadership and support to the sector in advancing knowledge and tourism policies worldwide. UNWTO encourages the implementation of the Global Code of Ethics for Tourism, to maximize tourism"s socio-economic contribution while minimizing its possible negative impacts, and is committed to promoting tourism as an instrument in achieving the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), geared towards reducing poverty and fostering sustainable development. UNWTO generates market knowledge, promotes competitive and sustainable tourism policies and instruments, fosters tourism education and training, and works to make tourism an effective tool for development through technical assistance projects in over 100 countries around the world. UNWTO"s membership includes 156 countries, 6 Associate Members and over 400 Affiliate Members representing the private sector, educational institutions, tourism associations and local tourism authorities. For more information visit www.unwto.org.