China, UN to stage world tourism conference

Beijing, Feb 6 (IANS) The Chinese government and the United Nations’ World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) will co-host an international tourism conference in Beijing in May, an official said on Saturday.

Up to 850 attendees from 143 countries will be invited to the four-day meeting running from May 18, Xinhua quoted Zhang Lizhong, departmental director of the China National Tourism Administration (CNTA), as saying.

The UNWTO will also stage meetings for ministers and officials involved in its T20 tourism initiative during the same period.

Global tourism has bucked the trend of sluggish global economic growth and expanded for six years in a row.

According to the World Travel and Tourism Council’s estimation, tourism accounted for 10 percent of world GDP and 9.5 percent of global employment in 2015.

Through the conference, China aims to promote itself as a tourist destination, explore ways to boost sustainable development of the sector, push forward international cooperation, and relieve poverty in tourist destinations, Zhang said.

China had the world’s largest number of outbound tourists in 2015, according to the CNTA. About 120 million Chinese travelled overseas in 2015, up from 109 million the previous year.

The country’s booming domestic tourism market saw over four billion journeys in 2015, generating tourism revenue of over 4 trillion yuan ($620 billion).

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