Qingdao tourism meet draws impressive response
The World Tourism Cities Federation's annual Fragrant Hills Tourism Summit, which ended on Saturday in Qingdao, in Shandong province, drew a huge response this year.
About 400 representatives from 112 cities and more than 200 members of tourism institutions and international organizations attended the event, which included forums, tourism promotions and trade and investment meetings.
"Tourism not only generates jobs and income along with business opportunities, but it also increases public revenues," Tegegnework Gettu, the United Nations under-secretary-general, said in his speech at the opening ceremony on Friday.
"And the increased fiscal revenues made available to national and local authorities, in turn, can be reinvested in the improvement of infrastructure and services, further increasing the attractiveness of cities."
According to him, if pressures on local housing prices and overuse of natural and cultural assets are managed properly, there could be a virtual cycle that may drive the achievement of the sustainable development goals all over the world.
Recent data from the United Nations World Tourism Organization show that there were over 1.3 billion international tourist arrivals in 2017 around the world, up 6.8 percent over 2016, the highest increase since 2009. And China continued to lead global outbound travel in terms of expenditure, with $257.7 billion spent last year.
WTCF's secretary-general Song Yu attributed the rapid rise of mass tourism in the world to the improvement of transport, like civil aviation, high-speed trains and harbors.
As for who is traveling, Song says: "Young people prefer independent travel. And the boom of the middle classes means that more people will seek good-quality customized travel.
"Also, tourist cities are not only a source market for global travel, but also destinations for global travel, playing an irreplaceable role in world tourism development."
WTCF's annual summit will be hosted in Helsinki, Finland, next year, and at the WTCF's headquarter Beijing in 2020.
Established in 2012, WTCF is a nonprofit international tourism organization which aims to promote exchanges and cooperation among its 205 members, comprising cities and tourism-related institutions from around the world.
The federation unveiled its latest research at the summit, offering insights into the global tourism industry.
The Market Research Report on Chinese Outbound Tourist Consumption (2017-2018) aims to help overseas destinations and tourism institutions learn more about Chinese outbound tourists and their habits so as to attract more visitors from China.
The report covered 8,374 respondents, 48.6 percent of whom were from Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen.
The report revealed that the favorite outbound destinations were Asia, Europe and North America, and that the reasons for travel were sightseeing, leisure, to experience different cultures, food and shopping.
Over 42 percent of the respondents chose group travel; 40 percent opted for independent travel and 18 percent went for customized travel.
Many shared their travel experiences on social media platforms such as WeChat and microblogs, and said they would recommend the destinations to others.
Nearly 90 percent of the respondents said they were willing to return to the destination within the next 12 months, mainly for the scenery, food and culture.
As for shopping, women were more focused on the experience. They paid attention to price and variety, whether the shops allowed the use of China's largest payment provider UnionPay and whether the retail staff spoke Chinese.
In the annual Report on the Development of World Tourism Cities (2018), London, New York, Frankfurt and Geneva each topped the rankings in different sectors.
As for the comprehensive ranking list, the top 10 cities were London, Paris, New York, Tokyo, Beijing, Seoul, Sydney, Dubai, Hong Kong, and Rome.