Capital seeking world-city role in tourism

Updated: 2010-12-08 13:14

(China Daily)

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As part of its drive to become a world city, Beijing is championing the setting up of an organization to promote tourism cooperation around the globe.

World Tourist City Organization (WTCO) will be made up of representatives from the world's most popular tourist cities, travel-related companies and travel associations.

It is expected to start operation in September as a nonprofit international cooperation venture, said Zhang Huiguang, director of the Beijing Municipal Administration of Tourism.

Zhang spoke about the plan for the new organization earlier this week at the "9+10" regional tourism cooperation and communication conference in Taiyuan, Shanxi province.

The 9+10 organization is a platform for regional cooperation that offers information exchanges, solutions to travel problems in remote areas, standardization of the area's tourism industry and the release of annual travel trends.

We have received positive responses from cities such as Tokyo, London and Paris. Domestic tourism cities also are showing great interest in joining the group, Zhang said.

The participating cities at the "9+10" conference were the first to sign up and seek to join the WTCO. They included Shanghai, Tianjin, Taiyuan, Chongqing and Hangzhou.

"Beijing will be the headquarters of the institution and several cities from both home and abroad will later be selected to be the permanent members," said Zhang.

The creation of the organization signals a significant step in Beijing's push to become known as an international city on a par with such places as London and Tokyo.

"We hope the organization will help the city become a hub for the tourism industry to grow the city into a first-class tourist destination," Zhang said.

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According to Shao Qiwei, chairman of the China National Tourism Administration, the nation's tourism industry is entering a golden time.

In 2010, the volume of inbound and outbound travel increased by 10 percent and 17 percent respectively.

And the overall revenue from tourism this year has increased by more than 20 percent.

"In 2015, China will receive the most inbound tourists worldwide and have the fourth-largest number of outbound tourists," Shao said.

"To build a cohesive, open market for tourism is the trend."

He said more cooperation will boost the integration of resources, brand building and offer a solution to tourist complaints.

Beijing initiated the idea of the "9+10" regional tourism cooperation organization in 2008.

The "9" refers to the nine provinces surrounding Beijing and the economic circle around the Bohai Sea. "10" refers to the 10 domestic tourist cities that are also taking part.


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