Last night UNWTO Delegates attending the Gala Dinner for the UNWTO General Assembly at the New Chengdu Convention Center sponsored by World Tourism Alliance were treated to a special fun filled evening and Gala Dinner with delicious spicy Sichuan food.
The World Tourism Alliance is a new initiative launched last night by China with top name brand leadership organizations as founding members and executives including Taleb Rifai, UNWTO WTTC, USTOA – Chinese Style. The founder is Li Jinzao, Chairman of the China National Tourism Administration.
Li Jinzao said:
Good evening, first of all on behalf of China National Tourism Administration, I would like to extend a warm welcome to all of you for your presence here in China. Today will surely be a historic landmark of world tourism development, as representatives from more than 100 countries met in Chengdu, Sichuan to witness the birth of a significant international tourism organization. I hereby declare: World Tourism Alliance (WTA), a comprehensive, non-governmental and non- profitable international tourism organization, is formally established. Chinese Premier Li Keqiang sent a congratulatory message to this ceremony, for which I will now read:
The message from Premier Li fully shows the sincere expectation from the Chinese government for tourism cooperation on the international stage. The creation of the WTA shall be attributed to the international tourism community which have made concerted endeavor, to the UNWTO and its Secretary General Mr. Rifai who have devoted special attention, to the ministers, leaders from transnational tourism corporations and industry elites who have provided full support and to the Chinese government and its leadership which have delivered strong commitment.
Now let’s give warm congratulations to Mr. Duanquiang on his election as the Chairman of WTA for the first term, and also congratulate the Vice Chairman and 89 founding members.
Tourism is a sun-rise industry of happiness and peace, green in nature and important to drive the global economy, employment and poverty reduction and elimination. In the year of 2016, international tourist arrivals exceeded 1.2 billion, bringing about USD 1.2 trillion tourism revenue, and contributing to over 10.2% of the world economy., 9.6% plus of job creation and more than 4.4% of the investment. Yet on the other side, unbalanced development in world tourism is intensified, trade protection on the rise, tourism security under increasing threats from geographical conflicts and terrorism. All these have posed heavier pressure on sustainable tourism growth. To promote cooperation between governments on tourism affairs, the UNWTO has made undoubtedly big contribution and scored remarkable achievements, while it is still hard, as already proved, to merely rely on inter-governmental coordination for an orderly and robust resolution to all the rising challenges.
Hence the world is eagerly looking for a comprehensive, non-governmental and non-profitable international tourism organization, which will better the global tourism cooperation mechanism and governance system for the promotion of tourism sustainable development around the world.
Facing the complexity of international politics and economy, riding the magnificent tide of global tourism development, WTA broke through all the barriers and came into being to meet the high expectations from countries and tourism communities in the world. Its emergence follows the trend and echoes the call of the times. Upholding “Better Tourism, Better World” it is committed to promoting tourism for peace, development and poverty alleviation based on mutual trust, mutual respect, mutual support and win-win outcomes. it will go hand in hand with the UNWTO and stand complementary to each other, serving as double engines to drive tourism exchanges and cooperation at the non-governmental and inter-governmental levels. This is just like the song sung by these lovely children: The same feeling concludes to our same yearning, and the same glee gives us the same song.
As an English idiom goes: There is nothing new under the sun. But today something new is unveiled under the sun right before us. It is the World Tourism Alliance!
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Romain Rollan, a famous French writer once said: All the joys of life are the joys of creation. And Professor John Stuart Mill, an English economist also believed that all good things which exist are the fruit of originality. In China, we have Master Tsent saying in the Analects of Confucius that true gentlemen should be ambitious and resolute, for he has far to go with heavy burdens on his shoulders. The newly-born WTA is created by the whole international tourism community. It is born with great mission and needs constant and utmost care and support from all parties related in the world.
The 22nd session of UNWTO General Assembly is about to come, which will have far-reaching significance. On behalf of CNTA, I wish to again express sincere greeting to all candidates. We will learn from you and make joint efforts together on the way ahead, deepening our exchange and cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiatives and embracing the spring of world tourism.
Ladies and Gentlemen<
Suchuan got its name due to its marvelous mountains and rivers. It features picturesque landscape, time honored history, distinctive culture and lovely peple. It is the hometown of pandas. It is a popular destination of tourism. it is the origin of the ancient culture of the Shu Kingdom and now it is the birthplace of WTA. Welcome to Chengdu. Your experience in Sichuan will bring you one step closer to the essence of China.
Mr. Taleb Rifai addressed the audience saying: “For many years UNWTO has been partnering closely with many national governments including the Chinese government to enhance the importance of the tourism sector. However, to make the sector more competitive, to better satisfy traveler’s needs, we need to unite force with the whole sector. all these reasons are behind the creation of World Tourism Alliance.
We warmly welcome this initiative, and we stand ready to work side by side with WTA to build a better future for mankind through tourism.