World Tourism Has a New Boss: The Chinese Government

Last week, Tom Jenkins, the CEO of the European Tourism Association (ETOA), participated in the panel discussion ‘Sustaining Sustainability” at the World Tourism Alliance Dialogue in Hangzhou, China.

He said: ” It was an excellent opportunity to share ETOA’s point of view on this topic and exchange with other prominent players in the European tourism industry, including Eduardo Santander Fernández-Portillo PhD, Executive Director/ CEO, European Travel Commission.

Tom Jenkins, a Tourism Hero of the World Tourism Network, is correct.

The World Tourism Alliance membership is impressive by any standard and has the full support of the Chinese Government.

The “2023 WTA • Xianghu Dialogue” is seen as a prestigious event in the global tourism industry and was inaugurated in Hangzhou, where the headquarters of the World Tourism Alliance (WTA) is based.

The World Tourism Alliance is a comprehensive global, non-governmental, and nonprofit tourism organization established in China, and held its inaugural ceremony on Sept. 12, 2017, in Chengdu, Sichuan province, China, at a Gala Dinner at a very controversial World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Summit in Chengdu in 2017.

UNWTO had problems attracting members from countries such as the United States, the UK, and private industry leaders in 2017.

China, the host of the UNWTO General Assembly, was well aware of it. With a bit of help from China, the current UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili was confirmed, even though his opponent, Dr. Walter Mzembi, was able to demonstrate manipulation and fraud.

With more help from the same source, Zurab Pololikashvili will run for an unheard third term as Secretary General next year.

In the meantime, the World Tourism Alliance will be the best-positioned and, by far, most powerful organization in the world in the global travel and tourism industry, all controlled and courtesy by China.

No lack of Surprises at the UNWTO General Assembly in Chengdu 2017

It was a surprise for many in 2017 when UNWTO announced its support for the launch of a Chinese-hosted World Tourism Alliance at the UNWTO General Assembly in Chengdu.

On the other hand, the most significant players in global tourism were positioned as part of this new alliance that managed to overcome all the obstacles UNWTO had in attracting members, such as the United States. China had the power and the numbers. World tourism was unthinkable at the time without China – and still is.

Premier Li Keqiang of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China sent a congratulatory letter on the founding of WTA in 2017 said:

With its mission and vision of a “Better Tourism, Better Life, Better World,” WTA is committed to promoting tourism for peace, development, poverty alleviation, and driving global tourism exchanges and cooperation at the non-governmental level.

The WTA membership comprises national or regional tourism associations, influential tourism or tourism-related enterprises, tourism destinations, non-profit organizations, academia, media, and individuals. Positioning itself as a service-orientated international organization that caters to the needs of its members, WTA aims to create platforms for dialogue, networking, cooperation, ideas and information, resource sharing, and communication for integrative development.

World Tourism Alliance Hosts the 2023 Xianghu Dialogue in Hangzhou

The opening ceremony was attended by distinguished guests, including ZHANG Xu, WTA Chair; RAO Quan, Vice Minister of Culture and Tourism of the People’s Republic of China; ZHAO Cheng, Member of the Standing Committee and Director-General of the Publicity Department of the CPC Zhejiang Provincial Committee, China; and YAO Gaoyuan, Deputy Secretary of the CPC Hangzhou Municipal Committee and Mayor of Hangzhou Municipal People’s Government. LIU Shijun, WTA Vice Chair & Secretary-General, presided over the ceremony.

In his speech, Mr. ZHANG Xu acknowledged the significance of tourism as a key indicator of people’s improved living standards in the rapidly changing world, reiterating the historical role of tourism as a bridge for spreading civilization, exchanging cultures, and fostering friendships.

He highlighted the current global transformations and the increasing interdependence of international communities.

“In these pivotal times, we must remain steadfast, resilient, and patient, allowing the tourism industry to continue playing a crucial role in blending tradition with modernity and fostering symbiotic growth between culture, tourism, and the economy,” Zhang stated.

The Xianghu Dialogue, focusing on cooperation, transformation, co-creation, sharing, empowerment, and gathering momentum, aims to explore the potential of tourism in connecting the world, boosting economies, fostering innovation, promoting industry integration, and accelerating sustainable, high-quality development.

He hoped guests from international organizations, politics, the tourism industry, and academia worldwide would contribute their insights and experiences to foster responsible and sustainable tourism.

SOURCE: World Tourism Has a New Boss: The Chinese Government