- The Secretary-General of UNWTO is leading a high-level delegation to Hangzhou, China to be part of the country’s official re-opening to tourism.
- Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili will be the first United Nations Head of Agency as well as the first global tourism leader to visit China since it lifted its travel restrictions after more than 1,000 days closed to international visitors.
Why China Matters
- The re-opening of China represents the ‘missing piece’ in global tourism’s recovery from the worst crisis in its history.
- Because of the pandemic, the world lost almost $US3 trillion in tourism revenues between 2020 and 2022.
- The absence of China was particularly costly. Before the pandemic, it was the world’s biggest tourism source market: In 2019 Chinese tourists took 166 million international trips, and spent US$270 billion, much of it in destinations in developing economies.
- The lifting of travel restrictions in China will be felt in every global region. UNWTO data shows that Asia and the Pacific has been the slowest to recover from crisis, reaching just 23% of pre-pandemic levels by the end of 2022. The return of Chinese tourists will accelerate this recovery.
- The re-opening of Chinese domestic tourism is also a landmark moment. In 2019, Chinese residents took 6 billion domestic trips, making tourism a key driver of employment and economic growth, including for rural communities.
- The impact of China’s re-opening will be felt far outside the tourism sector itself. Due to tourism’s ability to cut across economic sectors, it is anticipated that it will boost economies at the global, national and grassroots level. UNWTO also welcomes the associated benefits it will bring, including social empowerment and opportunity, restoring trust in travel and boosting consumer confidence.
- UNWTO will join public and private sector leaders, including China’s Minister of Culture and Tourism Luo Shuang, to officially mark the occasion.
- UNWTO will also join the World Tourism Alliance for the Xianghu Dialogue to advance tourism is a driver of rural development in China and worldwide and to unite the sector around key priorities of jobs, investments and sustainability.
- The UNWTO delegation will be joined by media and tourism leaders to visit Yu Cun, a UNWTO Best Tourism Village and example of effective tourism for rural development.
- In China, UNWTO will also join preparations for the 10th edition of the Global Tourism Economy Forum. UNWTO will join its partner the World Tourism Alliance for the Forum in Macau in September to advance shared plans for a more sustainable, resilient and inclusive sector.