2018 Annual Conference of International Mountain Tourism Alliance took place in Guiyang.
GUIYANG, CHINA - On 13 October, the 2018 Annual Conference of International Mountain Tourism Alliance (IMTA) opened at the Guiyang International Eco-Conference Center. With the theme "New era of science and technology: new opportunities for the innovation and development of the world mountain tourism", with a focus on new opportunities, new space and models for mountain tourism development in the new era of science and technology, the conference looked into "new technology + mountain tourism". Events held at the conference included the Thematic Forum, Dominique de Villepin's Saloon, Dialogue among Famous Mountains in the World, Seminar, Business Fair for Mountain Tourism and World Famous Mountain Photography Exhibition. The IMTA Council deliberated on IMTA's next-year work plan, approved the applications of 16 new members, issued the initiative for setting "World Mountain Tourism Day" and launched the research project Report on Development Trends of World Mountain Tourism. Several highlighted sessions of the conference added splendor to technology support for the innovative development of world mountain tourism.
Nearly 300 attendees participated in the conference and among them were leaders from the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of the People's Republic of China; provincial leaders of Guizhou; representatives from international tourism organizations; IMTA's leaders and members; industrial, academic and research scholars; as well as representatives from the press. Dominique de Villepin, President of IMTA; Lu Yongzheng, Vice Governor of the People's Government of Guizhou Province; Yan Han, Deputy Secretary-General of the World Tourism Cities Federation and other guests addressed the conference.
Serge Koenig, an official from France's Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports and an expert at mountain tourism; Chen Ning, General Manager of Tourism and Entertainment at Aliyun; He Zhen, Head of Industrial Solutions at DJI; Sun Chong, Senior Product Expert and Head of Smart Tourism at Amap; Feng Qi, Senior Product Expert at Doppelmayr and Cui Li, Vice President of Qyer delivered impressive keynote speeches. They shared the impact of the latest research findings on mountain tourism and their role in mountain tourism.
Highlights of the IMTA Annual Conference
Dominique de Villepin, President of IMTA addressed the opening ceremony. He expressed thanks to the guests present, reiterated the purpose and significance of IMTA, and stressed that IMTA has been committed to protecting and utilizing mountain tourism resources; promoting international exchanges and business cooperation in tourism; summarizing and popularizing the successful experience in mountain tourism development; promoting the prosperity of the mountain economy, culture and the society; and advancing the sustainable development of mountain tourism and eco-tourism.
Lu Yongzheng, Vice Governor of the People's Government of Guizhou Province, spoke highly of IMTA's achievements. He said that, since its founding, IMTA has made positive attempts at and conducted beneficial exploration of international mountain tourism development, thus boosting the development of international mountain tourism. As the initiator of IMTA and the location of IMTA's headquarters, Guizhou will continue making all-out efforts to support the development of IMTA, and intensify support in the construction of IMTA's headquarters building, talent and resource introduction, member and platform development, and other fields, in a bid to contribute to the sustainable development of international mountain tourism.
He Yafei, Secretary-General of IMTA reported IMTA's work for 2018, its work plan for 2019, as well as the establishment and operations of the IMTA Secretariat since the founding of IMTA. He noted that IMTA will continue to strengthen basic work and construction, and continue to build the member exchange and cooperation platform, the mountain tourism development research and evaluation platform, and the mountain tourism investment cooperation and innovation platform in the year to come. IMTA proposed to establish the IMTA Research Institute and Consulting Company in late 2018. Tapping the research potential of IMTA's member entities in business fields and integrating crossover intellectual resources is an important link in IMTA development, which is aimed to build an influential think tank and consulting platform system. Through the initiative for setting "International Mountain Tourism Day" issued at the 2018 Annual Conference of International Mountain Tourism Alliance and the "Dialogue among Famous Mountains in the World" held during the conference, IMTA will organize the 1st "International Mountain Tourism Day" in 2019, set "Traveling around the Himalayas" as the thematic event, organize the "2nd Dialogue among Famous Mountains in the World", and strive to build "International Mountain Tourism Day" and the "Dialogue among Famous Mountains in the World" into IMTA's symbols. Additionally, IMTA will continue to develop new members, strengthen contacts with members, serve members, and carry out international exchanges to build a professional and international platform. He Yafei stressed that IMTA is the first international mountain tourism organization registered at the Ministry of Civil Affairs of the People's Republic of China with approval by the Chinese government. Within only one year since its founding in Guizhou on 15 August, 2017, 142 groups and individuals from 29 countries and regions in five continents have joined IMTA to promote mountain tourism cooperation and innovation.
During the opening ceremony, Shao Qiwei, Vice President of IMTA introduced the initiative on setting "International Mountain Tourism Day". "As mountain tourism is thriving and promising, a shared platform for mountain tourism promotion, exchanges and cooperation needs to be established to expand the international influence of IMTA through the wide participation of members and social organizations," he said. 29 May, when the first people reached Mount Everest, was selected as the commemorative day. During "International Mountain Tourism Day", IMTA will organize various activities with distinct themes, to arouse people's attention to world mountain tourism, disseminate and promote the concept of sustainable mountain tourism, expand the positive impact of mountain tourism on improving the production, life and poverty alleviation of mountain people, advocate positive and healthy ways of travel, create a sound environment for mountain tourism development, promote the healthy and orderly development of world mountain tourism and create a new bright future for mountain tourism.
Creating a new model of "new technology + mountain tourism"
In the new era of internet+ and digital economy, "new technology + mountain tourism" has become an industrial trend. Tourism and technology insiders are considering how to integrate big data, AI, intelligent devices, new technology materials and other "black technologies" into mountain tourism to promote the innovative development of the industry.
Serge Koenig, an official from France's Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports and an expert at outdoor sports, analyzed the role of research and technology in outdoor sports development, showed the guests the applications of wearable devices in mountaineering, skiing and other sports with vivid examples, and displayed the possibility of technology in mankind's persistent exploration of the unknown. Nanotechnology, biotechnology, computer science, cognition and other technologies will help tourism improve and help everybody freely create their own stories.
In the field of tourism big data applications, Chen Ning, General Manager of Tourism and Entertainment at Aliyun delivered a keynote speech titled "Big Data Application in Mountain Tourism". He introduced Aliyun's efforts in integrating face recognition, real-time location, intelligent navigation and other technologies into "food, living, transportation, travel, shopping and entertainment", enhancing service experience by digital means, and extending the breadth of ecology and the depth of marketing. The "Scheme for Digital Transformation of Scenic Areas" launched by Aliyun, based on LBS, visual computing, scheduling algorithm and other new technology systems, can promote the digital transformation of tourism.
He Zhen, Head of Industrial Solutions at DJI shared DJI's thought on tourism. At the Thematic Forum, with aerial photography products as examples, he demonstrated the change from the "stereotyped" photographing angle of SLR cameras and mobile phones to "God's eye view" of aerial cameras, and shared the "new technology equipment and new experience of mountain tourism".
In the field of mountain travel, Sun Chong, Senior Product Expert and Head of Smart Tourism at Amap delivered a keynote speech titled "Intelligent Travel and Future Mountain Transport Ecology". He analyzed "mountain tourism development through extension of travel scenarios", and interpreted the four capabilities of Amap Smart Tourism Open Platform: "experience intelligentization, management digitalization, decision intelligentization, universal marketing."
Feng Qi, Senior Product Expert at Doppelmayr shared the outcome of "new technology and mountain city travel" from another perspective of mountain travel products and demonstrated the application of gondola lifts in cities. Doppelmayr's new products: D-Line and 3S Gondola Lift applicable to terrains with large transport capacity, complex lines, and large altitude difference, as well as the amazing La Paz's urban public transport network which is composed of 11 gondola lifts.
In new ways of travel, Cui Li, Vice President of Qyer delivered a speech titled "New Technology, New Quality, New Travel- "Work out your itinerary in one minute", helping the audience feel a strong sense for the technology. Through big data, positive cycle and run-length algorithm, Qyer developed functions such as "snap for itinerary" and "desired destination recommendation". These functions cover usage scenarios before, during and after travel, and are an invaluable aid to travel enthusiasts.
Building a bridge of exchange and cooperation in mountain tourism
To promote international exchange and business cooperation in tourism, and build an exchange platform for world mountain tourism, the IMTA annual conference set up the "Dialogue among Famous Mountains in the World". As an exchange and cooperation platform newly built by IMTA, the event invited representatives of 14 famous mountains from across the world, including world-renowned mountain destinations like the Alps, Gunung Batur, Changbai Mountain, the Cairngorms, Mount Cook, Mount Elbrus, Mount Fuji, the Himalayas, Table Mountain, Mount Huang, Itatiaia, Mount Kilimanjaro, the Rocky Mountains and Mount Tai. The representatives conducted promotion, and held a dialogue on the ecological protection and rational utilization of mountains, benefiting mountain people and sustainable development, to promote mountain exchanges and cooperation. Also, they discussed the issues of enhancing the aggregation force of destinations, realizing models such as tourism + town, tourism + culture and tourism + e-commerce, and building attractions into IP, all-for-one tourism, content marketing, etc.
Apart from the "Dialogue among Famous Mountains in the World", the Organizing Committee also built a business exchange platform - "Business Fair for Mountain Tourism" for the member entities and guests present, to facilitate exchanges and cooperation among tourism institutions, tourism areas and OTA enterprises, thus jointly promoting the prosperity of the world mountain economy and the sustainability of eco-tourism.
Besides, World Famous Mountain Photography Exhibition, with the theme "Enjoy the Wonder of Mountains, Share the Natural Beauty", also opened during the IMTA annual conference to present a visual feast to the guests. Organized by IMTA, co-organized by 7 international photography associations including Japan Mountain Photography Association and Japan-China Friendship Association of Photography, echoed by renowned international and domestic photographers, the exhibition presented nearly 120 fine photographs featuring famous mountains and perilous peaks in countries including China, Japan, Russia, the U.S.A, Canada, Argentina, Nepal, France, Switzerland, New Zealand and South Africa, showing the brilliance of mountain tourism in the new era. The exhibition also attracted renowned Japanese media institution NHK which will present a documentary featuring Guizhou's mountain tourism in Japan next year.
Just as Dominique de Villepin said in his concluding speech, boosted by new technology, IMTA will build a bridge of multi-side cooperation, create a sound environment for mountain tourism development, promote the healthy and orderly development of world mountain tourism and create a new bright future for mountain tourism.