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Delegation from UN tourism body attends official reopening of China for tourism

Xinhua| Updated: February 24, 2023 L M S

The official reopening of China for tourism after the COVID-19 pandemic was attended by a delegation from the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) on Wednesday.

The delegation traveled from the Spanish capital Madrid to Hangzhou, capital of east China's Zhejiang Province.

"The reopening of China represents the 'missing piece' in the recovery of world tourism after the worst crisis in its history," the UNWTO said on Thursday.

The organization highlighted the importance of the reopening of China, given the country's huge importance to the global tourism market.

In 2019, before the pandemic, China was the world's largest outbound tourism market. Chinese tourists made 166 million international trips, and spent 270 billion U.S. dollars, which in turn helped the economies of developing countries.

According to UNWTO data, almost 3 trillion U.S. dollars in tourist revenue were lost globally between 2020 and 2022 due to the pandemic. Therefore, the organization believes the lifting of Chinese travel restrictions will benefit the entire world.

It will also have a positive effect on China, given that Chinese citizens made 6 billion domestic trips in 2019. This shows that tourism is a key driver of employment and economic growth for many rural communities in China.

The trickle-down effect of China's reopening will also benefit other economic sectors, helping to create greater dynamism at local, national and global level, UNTWO said.

The organization will join leaders from the public and private sectors, including China's Minister of Culture and Tourism Luo Shuang, in celebrating World Tourism Day.

UNWTO will also join the preparations for the 10th edition of the Global Tourism Economy Forum, to be held in China's Macao Special Administrative Region (SAR) in September. 

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