NBD 2017-10-15 10:58:07
(NBD) Sept. 12 -- The 22nd session of the UN World Tourism Organization(UNWTO) General Assembly is being held in Chengdu, Sichuan province, from Monday to Sept 16. It is the second time that the UNWTO General Assembly takes place in China, after the first in Beijing in 2003.
This is also the second time that the secretary-general of the UNWTO, Taleb Rifai, came to Chengdu. When asked why Chengdu was chosen as the host city of the 22nd session of the UNWTO General Assembly, Rifai explained that in the past four to six years, China's position in the world's tourism has been growing, therefore the members of the UNWTO agreed when China offered to host this assembly. He further added, "Chengdu is a distinguished city in China, and it's very vibrant. The World Organization of Tourism has a very deep relationship with Chengdu. Several years ago, Chengdu was awarded as the 'Best of the World' destination and we also have important sustainable tourism development observation centers established here in Chengdu."
In this whole week here in Chengdu, the world's tourist industry will focus on Chengdu and this is a great opportunity for Chengdu, said Rifai. He believes that it's important for Chengdu to take advantage of this event and major changes will be seen in the positioning of the world's tourism industry during this week.
The secretary-general also found strong connections between world's tourism development and the Belt and Road Initiative. Rifai said that the UNWTO is very supportive for the Initiative. He believed that the Belt and Road Initiative enable us to connect, which is what the ancient silk road and current Belt and Road Initiative are about. In Rifai's opinion, no country along the Belt and Road claims to be more important than the others, because everybody knows that you can get benefits if your neighbor get benefits.
This year celebrates the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development to remind destinations of travelers that we must work for a sustainable tourism sector that protects the environment, preserves the cultural heritage of destinations, and foster respect for communities everywhere, according to Rifai.
Rifai said that ecotourism is a new trend in the development of modern tourist industry, and ecotourism is built on strong tourism. Tourism has two very important foundations: natural essence and cultural essence. It's important to know that tourism has a responsibility to make environment better. Rifai saw ecosystem and environment as an actual asset in the tourist industry and he thought wise people will seek ways to expand the value of such asset rather than consume the asset. If well managed, tourism can be the best friend of the environment, Rifai added.
In the news briefing, Rifai also valued highly of the role which tourism plays in shaking off poverty. He mentioned that a special UNWTO foundation, Sustainable Tourism Eliminating Poverty, focuses on promoting poverty reduction and elimination through tourism.