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Tourism alliance to promote intercultural dialogue

By Ma Zhenhuan| chinadaily.com.cn| Updated: May 25, 2023 L M S


The headquarters of the World Tourism Alliance in Xiaoshan district of Hangzhou, Zhejiang province. [Photo by Lai Jiang/For chinadaily.com.cn]

The World Tourism Alliance will help to facilitate exchanges and cooperation between different countries around the globe, a researcher said on Monday.

"Since its inception, the alliance has become one of the most important platforms for the world tourism industry and for intercultural dialogue, especially between China and the West," said Zhu Xiaqing, deputy director of Xianghu (Baimahu) Research Institute, an academic institution in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, devoted to the study and protection of traditional local culture and the sustainable development of local tourism resources.

A global NGO initiated by China, the alliance was inaugurated in September 2017.

The headquarters of the alliance was officially unveiled in Hangzhou's Xiaoshan district on Feb 24.

With about 230 members, including tourism companies, airlines and tourism research institutes from more than 40 countries and regions, the alliance is committed to promoting peace, development and poverty reduction through tourism.

From 2018 to 2021, the alliance — both independently and in cooperation with international organizations such as the World Bank — released 150 cases, mostly from China, of tourism helping to reduce poverty and promote rural vitalization.

Once considered a luxury, travel is now a regular way of life for the public and an important means for people to showcase and improve their quality of life, particularly as tourism is increasingly growing to be a major industry for economic development, Zhu said.

During the recent five-day Labor Day holiday from April 29 to May 3, nearly 2.83 million visitors thronged Hangzhou's West Lake scenic area, a UNESCO World Heritage site, according to the Zhejiang Department of Culture and Tourism, making it the most popular recent tourist destination in China.

In the same period, figures from the department show that Zhejiang grossed a whopping 36.97 billion yuan ($5.27 billion) in tourism revenue, topping the nation.

As China celebrated the 13th National Tourism Day on Friday, a series of preferential policies and measures, such as free entry to popular scenic spots and vouchers for cultural and tourism activities and events, have been rolled out to spur tourism.

The annual National Tourism Day, observed on May 19, was introduced in 2011 to commemorate the day when Xu Xiake (1587-1641), a celebrated Chinese travel writer and geographer, started his three-decade nationwide tour in Ninghai county of Ningbo, Zhejiang.

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