Following the recently-announced government restructuring plan, China’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism has inaugurated in place of the former Ministry of Culture and former National Tourism Administration.
On March 19, the former Chinese minister of culture, Luo Shugang, was elected as the new Minister of Culture and Tourism, and former Chairman of the China National Tourism Administration, Li Jinzao, was appointed Vice Minister. An inauguration ceremony was held in Beijing on April 8.
According to State Councilor Wang Yong, the merger of the two departments is an effort to enhance and showcase the confidence of culture, balance the development of culture and tourism, escalate the nation’s soft power and cultural influences, and promote integrated culture and tourism industry growth.
Huang Kunming, a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and head of the Publicity Department of the CPC Central Committee, addressed in his remark at the ministry inauguration ceremony that the establishment of the ministry would strengthen the Party’s overall leadership on culture and tourism. He called the new ministry to “embrace the new era, assume new missions, and have more confidence in the Chinese culture.”
Many scholars and experts have expressed their opinions of support to the new ministry.
Song Rui, Director of the Tourism Research Center at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, expressed that tourism is an industry with cultural connotations. Whether it is the traditional tourist landmarks — the Forbidden City, the Temple of Heaven, the Terracotta Warriors and Horses — or the new tourism facilities, such as theme parks and cultural tourism towns, tourism is inseparable from culture. One of the most important ways in which culture meets the demands of the people internally and expands the international influence eternally is through tourism.
Lin Shaoxiong, a professor at Shanghai University, believes that the establishment of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism is expected to realize the optimal allocation and effective management of existing resources, infuse the rich cultural heritage into the tourism industry, and shape a lively industry for the undertakings of Chinese culture.