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Asian travel industry forum opens in Guilin

Asian tourism leaders and professionals urged closer dialogue and cooperation to boost Asia’s travel industry…

Asian tourism leaders and professionals urged closer dialogue and cooperation to boost Asia’s travel industry, at an international tourism forum in Guilin, a famous tourist attraction in south China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.

Asian countries and regions had attached greater importance to developing tourism in recent years as the industry’s role in their economies grew, a senior Chinese official said at Monday’s opening ceremony of the Boao Forum for Asia – Tourism Conference.

Chen Jinhua, China’s chief representative at the forum, said Asian countries and regions agreed they should increase cooperation and exchanges to boost the prosperity of the tourism industry in the world’s largest continent, the home to 60 percent of the world’s population as well as a wealth of historic relics, picturesque landscapes and diversified folk culture.

Francesco Frangialli, secretary-general of the World Tourism Organization, said growth, globalization and integration were three words that without any hesitation could be associated with tourism.

He said within this overall global scenario, the East Asia and Pacific region recorded the best performance in international tourism compared to all other regions worldwide.

China had emerged as one of the world’s biggest tourism markets that was growing rapidly, said Chen, also vice-chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, China’s top advisory body. The tourism industry of China, Asia and the world could be mutually beneficial, he said.

In 2001, China was ranked fifth in the world in terms of international tourist arrivals and foreign currency earnings.

The conference, co-hosted by the China National Tourism Administration, Boao Forum for Asia, and the Asia Cooperation Dialogue, aims to discuss prospects for Asia’s tourism industry and relevant policy-making issues.

It will focus on how to further develop the industry and increase regional cooperation. Other major topics include the sustainable development of tourism resources, the innovative development of tourist products, and the contribution of tourism such as poverty-eradication and better job opportunities.

Among the more than 500 participants are Asian political leaders, top tourism administrators, researchers, and representatives of international tourism organizations, famous tourism cities worldwide and travel businesses.

Boao Forum for Asia is a non-governmental, non-profit international organization to provide a top-level venue for political, business and academic leaders all over the continent to express and exchange ideas.

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