The 7th T.20 Ministers’ Meeting co-organized by China National Tourism Administration (CNTA) and the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) took place in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on May 20, 2016. Chinese Vice Premier Wang Yang attended the opening ceremony and gave remarks. UNWTO Secretary General Taleb Rifai and Deputy Secretary General Wu Hongbo delivered an address, and CNTA Chairman Li Jinzao presided over the meeting.
Wang Yang pointed out that The T.20 Ministers’ Meeting is an important platform for G20 members to strengthen tourism cooperation. Since the first meeting was held in 2010, all parties – upholding openness, innovation, mutual benefits and win-win cooperation – have made significant progress in visa facilitation, tourism investment and cooperation, international tourism statistics, and other areas. Tourism communication and cooperation among G20 members has expanded in the past six years, which has bolstered economic recovery for G20 members, as well as contributing toward employment, business creation and poverty alleviation.
He highlighted that this year’s T.20 Ministers’ Meeting was themed “Sustainable Tourism – An Effective Tool for Inclusive Development,” which echoes the theme of this year’s G20 Summit to be held in Hangzhou in September, and reflects all parties’ recognition of the position and role of the tourism industry and also their expectations for inclusive development. G20 members should further relax visa policies, simplify entry/exit formalities, improve policies on customs clearance of goods, shopping tax exemption and rebate and currency exchange, and support enterprises to jointly develop tourism products, so as to enlarge the pie of tourism market and bolster the global economic recovery. By further leveraging the low employment threshold of the tourism industry and the demand for labor forces at all levels, more people should be allowed to take part in the development of tourism products and share the benefits of tourism development. China has gained some experience in Internet Plus Tourism, lavatory standardization, all-terrain tourism and countryside tourism, and is willing to share it with you all.
Before the opening ceremony, Wang Yang met with UNWTO Secretary General Taleb Rifai, Deputy Secretary General Wu Hongbo, and tourism ministers and representatives of G20 members.
UNWTO Secretary General Taleb Rifai said in his speech that with the slow economic recovery and various challenges in some parts of the world, the global tourism industry should support the G20 agenda by actively finding tourism solutions, and contribute to the inclusive and sustainable development of the global economy. First, tourism is a dynamic, resilient and interconnected industry. In 2015, the world saw 1.2 billion tourists, an increase of 4.4 percent from the previous year. The number grew at a higher-than-expected rate of over 5 percent in the first quarter of 2016. Second, tourism can boost inclusive development, especially employment and rural development. Third, tourism development relies on comprehensive policies and requires collaboration between the government and private sector. Fourth, tourism can contribute to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Fifth, sustainable tourism is an effective tool to boost development.
UNWTO Deputy Secretary General Wu Hongbo pointed out in his speech that in recent years, tourism has shifted from a services sector for leisure and entertainment to an effective tool for inclusion and sustainable development, becoming one of the fastest-growing industries in the world. Tourism now contributes to 10% of global GDP, and the world will see 1.8 billion tourists per year by 2030. Tourism is playing a greater role in boosting growth, increasing employment and reducing poverty. At the same time, tourism professionals and tourists are becoming more environmentally minded. In 2015, the UN General Assembly declared 2017 as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development. It is foreseeable that the global tourism industry will advance towards sustainable tourism. All nations are expected to promote sustainable tourism and thus bolster the inclusive and sustainable development of the economy and society.
A the 7th T.20 Ministers’ Meeting, CNTA Chairman Li Jinzao said that tourism is a comprehensive industry that cuts across the primary, secondary and tertiary industries, has proven resilient and inclusive and is growing rapidly, contributing to more than 10% of global economic growth and employment. Countries around the world are shoring up the role of tourism in socioeconomic development and implementing strategies that give priority to tourism development. To bring into full play the role of tourism in boosting green growth, employment and inclusive development, China is making active explorations in region-based tourism, improving the allocation of resources, making coordinated planning, constructing a comprehensive management system for region-based tourism, and promoting the “Tourism Plus” functions and common construction and sharing among the public. It is not only a new leverage for China’s tourism industry to improve quality and efficiency and advance sustainable development, but also a practical step it has taken to implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. China is willing to share its experience and outcomes with all nations and work together to promote sustainable tourism and boost the inclusion and progress of the global economy and society.
Hundreds of people attended the meeting, including tourism ministers and representatives of G20 members (Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, the United Kingdom, the United States and the European Union), representatives of such international organizations as UNWTO, the International Labour Organization, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, and the World Travel & Tourism Council, as well as leaders from China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Beijing Municipal Government, and tourism officials from relevant provinces and municipalities.
At the meeting, the participants exchanged views on sustainable tourism. UNWTO released the thematic report titled “Sustainable Tourism – An Effective Tool for Inclusive Development”. The 7th T.20 Ministers’ Meeting Communiqué was also adopted. According to the Communiqué, tourism authorities of G20 members agree to make efforts to attain the Sustainable Development Goals set in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. They vow to improve tourism policies to build a “more open global economy”, promote innovations, increase the utilization efficiency of resources, improve work quality, and bolster higher-level cooperation, integration and inclusive development. Cooperation will be strengthened in a wider range of areas to tackle the safety challenges in association with tourism facilitation. With respect to domestic policies, the Communiqué calls for efforts to establish partnership between the public and private sectors, improve governance structure, integrate the public and private sectors with local tourism resources; foster an inclusive labor market, improve employment quality and work skills, promote the development of human resources, and enhance the social responsibility of tourism companies. It calls on G20 members to take coordinated measures from a long-term perspective, adopt viable cross-sector policies, and encourage the development of region-based tourism. As to tourism development, specific actions should be taken to boost inclusive growth and sustainable development, and promote higher-level investment and financing. Official development assistance and aid-for-trade initiatives are welcome for the purpose of tourism development. G20 members are also encouraged to take tourism as a key industry for boosting growth and development.
G20 members are composed of main industrial countries and emerging economies, which take up 90% of global GDP, account for 80% of global trade volume, and have two thirds of the world’s population. They are also important tourist destinations and sources of outbound tourists. The T.20 Ministers’ Meeting has become a key mechanism for tourism cooperation among G20 members. In the past six years, the number of inbound tourists of G20 members has increased from 660 million to 830 million, and revenue from international tourism surged from 747 billion dollars to 920 billion dollars. Hosting the 7th T.20 Ministers’ Meeting is conducive to promoting tourism cooperation among G20 members, and also helps to spread the development achievements and concepts of China’s tourism industry, demonstrate China’s image as a prosperous country in tourism, and strengthen China’s voice and influence in the international tourism community.