Convening Its First General Assembly in Chengdu
The First China-Initiated Global, Comprehensive, Non-governmental, Non-for-profit International Tourism Organization
On September 11, the World Tourism Alliance (WTA), the first global, comprehensive, non-governmental, non-for-profit international tourism organization initiated by China Tourism Association, held its general assembly in Chengdu, marking its official coming into being. The WTA will play a major role in global tourism governance, and its inception is a milestone event in the history of global tourism development and will surely be remembered in China and the rest of the world. Director of the Organizing Committee for the Establishment of the WTA and CNTA Chairman Li Jinzao attended and addressed the general assembly which was presided over by Deputy Director of the Organizing Committee and CNTA Vice Chairman Du Jiang.
Li said, “Chinese government highly values tourism development. Chinese President Xi Jinping has stressed on various occasions that tourism is a comprehensive industry, an important impetus for economic growth, a bridge for cultural dissemination and exchange and people-to-people bond, and a key indicator of people’s livelihood. In recent years, Chinese tourism industry has scored remarkable achievements in the Toilet Revolution, holistic tourism, tourism for poverty alleviation, tourist police, tourist courts, tourism for diplomacy and tourist etiquette, etc. It is growing into a strategic pillar industry for the national economy and a modern service industry with increasing popularity among the general public.”
He added, “After continuous development, the tourism industry has become the biggest and the fastest-growing industry in global economy, a major employer, a sizable exchange earner through exports and an important force behind infrastructure construction. International tourism consumption has been growing on the whole. Developing countries and emerging economies take up a significantly growing share in the international tourism market. Amid the complex international political and economic landscape, the World Tourism Alliance rises in response to the soaring global tourism development and the expectation of countries and the global tourism community. Believing in that ‘Tourism makes the world a better place’, the Alliance is aimed to promote development, poverty reduction and peace through tourism by extending consensus, sharing experience and deepening cooperation in driving the sustainable, inclusive development of the global tourism industry. The Alliance and the UNWTO are complementary to each other. They serve as two wheels driving global tourism exchange and cooperation at the governmental and non-governmental levels.”
Li then made the following suggestions on the future of the Alliance. The Alliance should aim at sustainable development, and give full play to the important role of tourism in development and poverty alleviation. It should adhere to the Tourism Plus strategy and drive the integration of tourism and related industries. It should seek for win-win cooperation based on the principle of reciprocity. It should take the initiative to contribute to the Belt and Road Initiative.
He hoped that with active participation and joint efforts of its member units, the Alliance would grow into a platform for developing and issuing international tourism standards, for international tourism investment and cooperation, for promoting international tourism products, for studying the development of the international tourism industry and for international tourism exchange and membership services.
Li received the candidates for the WTA President, Vice President and directors before the meeting.
At the general assembly, Deputy Director of the Organizing Committee Duan Qiang gave a report on the preparatory work, and Liu Shijun, another member with the Organizing Committee, submitted the Constitution of the World Tourism Alliance (draft), the Rules of Procedure of the General Assembly of the World Tourism Alliance (draft), and the Name List of Nominees for the 1st Board of Directors of the World Tourism Alliance to the general assembly for review. The meeting then decided on the official logo of the WTA.
It’s learnt that the WTA consists of the General Assembly, the Board of Directors and the Secretariat. The General Assembly acts as the supreme authority, composed of all members; the Board of Directors as the execution body; and the Secretariat as the administrative body for daily affairs, composed of the Secretary General and his subordinates. The headquarters and the Secretariat of the Alliance are in China and adopt working languages of Chinese, English, French, Russian, Arabic and Spanish.
A total of 89 founding members were recruited worldwide for the 1st general assembly. They are from the United States, France, Germany, Australia, South Africa, Japan and Brazil, showing an extensive international representation. Among them are national tourism associations, influential tourism companies and think tanks, heads of international organizations, retired tourism officials, executives of tourism companies and noted scholars.
The WTA is committed to:
(1) providing professional services for its members, building a platform for dialogue, communication and cooperation among its members, and promoting business cooperation and experience sharing among them;
(2)communicating and coordinating with relevant international organizations with an open mind and facilitating international tourism cooperation;
(3)establishing high-level tourism research and consultancy institutions to study the trend of global tourism development;
(4)collecting, analyzing and releasing global and regional tourism data;
(5)providing consultation services and business training for governments and companies;
(6)establishing a reciprocal mechanism among its members and promoting them to share resources and market their tourism market;
(7)hosting annual meetings, summits and expos as platforms for exchange and cooperation between the public and the private sectors;
(8)advancing the integration of the global tourism industry and related industries.