The World Tourism Organization and the China National Tourism Administration (CNTA) recently co-hosted a high-level China Cruise Tourism Forum 2004…
The World Tourism Organization and the China National Tourism Administration (CNTA) recently co-hosted a high-level China Cruise Tourism Forum 2004 as a prelude to the annual China International Travel Mart (CITM) in Shanghai. The Forum, held for the first time ever in China, was inaugurated by Mr. Gu Zhaoxi, Vice-Chairman of CNTA and Mr. Xue Peijian, Deputy Secretary-General of the Municipal Government of Shanghai and was attended by vice-mayors and directors of tourism as well as port officials from 12 coastal cities of China.
The Forum on cruise tourism is very well timed for China which is in line with the country`s exciting and booming tourism industry said Mr. Xu Jing, WTO`s Regional Representative for Asia and the Pacific. In accordance with the latest information from CNTA, inbound tourism to China for the first nine months of 2004 had a 21 per cent growth reaching almost 80 million visitors with 39 per cent income growth. It is expected that the year end figure for visitors would reach 100 million while overnight tourists would reach 40 million. The CNTA Vice Chairman also stated that by the end of the year, outbound travel from China is expected to reach 27 million.
Speakers at the Forum included top-level experts from various sub-sectors of the cruise industry such as Gwyn Hughes, former CEO of P&O, Torstein Hagen of Viking River Cruises and the Managing Director of CH2M-IDC China operations. Topics covered at the meeting range from global trends to port infrastructure and product design, etc. Delegates were encouraged to hear from the speakers that in the last 20 years Asia achieved 134 per cent annual growth and the global growth will be kept at an average of eight per cent per annum for the foreseeable future.
The Forum was successfully held in Shanghai as part of WTO`s efforts to promote this form of travel which has been growing particularly in the Caribbean and the Meditteranean as well as the Nordic countries. The Organization also held a similar seminar on the subject last year in Mumbai of India, another booming destination of the Asian region. The Chinese government viewed the development of cruise products as part of its strategy to diversify the tourism product base more towards leisure and holidays rather than simple sightseeing of historical monuments.
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