Sustainable Development of EU-China Tourism: Rationality and Logic

2018-01-18 14:06:26       Size:[L  M  S]

Distinguished chairman Antonio Tajani of European Parliament: 

As we start the 2018 EU-China Tourism Year, my mind wanders back to eight years ago when we first met in China. The moment when I was just taking office as president of China Tourism Academy that I received your congratulatory letter. Also you wrote down during your visit that “China and Europe not only share long historical origin, but also represent the future. The friendship and peace between Chinese and European citizens is of vital importance.” You witnessed the signature of research protocol on sustainable tourism and tourism advantages between us and president Cristina Scaletti of NECSTouR. Both sides acknowledged the important role played by tourism in driving EU-China relation sustainability, and agreed to synergize on problems confronting Chinese and EU tourism by sharing experiences. I would also like to thank you for inviting me to attend the European parliament and deliver keynote speech on the sustainability of EU-China tourism last year. In fact, Europe is offering more goodwill to Chinese tourists, showing understanding and tolerance on non-principled realistic issues and sustaining prosperous development of EU-China tourism patiently with increasingly effective political wisdom and professional actions.

Broad consensus in tourism development concepts and the stable bilateral relationship set the context for the best era of EU-China tourism cooperation. China as the largest outbound tourism source country for years, makes up over 10% of the global tourism growth. In 2017, Chinese citizens visiting Europe for the first destination exceeded 6 million person. Counting Chinese tourists arriving from other regions, and considering the fact that one would visit many countries in a tour, the total Chinese tourist volume to Europe is estimated to be over 12 million person-times. Italy, Germany, France, UK, Spain, Austria, Greece, Belgium, Portugal, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia, especially Swiss and Denmark which hosted tourism year with China last year, almost all European countries enjoy great reputation among Chinese tourists, and are becoming higher on Chinese people’s outbound destination list.

It is hoped that Europe is not just important to Chinese tourists, but also a good friend. Only by constant kindness, inclusive and patient improvement, can we offer customers better quality and more sense of gaining. Travel agencies and tourists all hope for a more efficient visa application process for European countries. For tourist source cities far from visa center, can officers collect fingerprints at scene with travel agencies’ help? Can tourists to Balkan region enjoy the same visa policies as the others? After all it’s normal for tourists to expect more countries at a time after this long journey. It is hoped that European countries improve protections on the safety of tourists and their pockets, and provide in-time and useful administrative assistance and judicial remedy when major security incidents occur. On many occasions, communication is the primary issue. It is hoped that more public and private parties can adopt the “Welcome Chinese” standard by providing Chinese tourists with Chinese-speaking guides, Chinese signals and interpretation system, Chinese menu, Chinese information, internet access, Union Pay, Wechat and many other service-friendly interfaces.

Distinguished deputy director general Du Jiang of China National Tourism Administration (CNTA)

Under the brilliant leadership of you and the CNTA officials, Chinese inbound tourism continues to gain ground at full speed, with the market of foreigner inbound tourism ending the long-term downturn since the financial crisis. The Belt and Road Initiative proposed by Chinese president Xi Jinping has under its framework the connectivity of goods and people, which accelerates the tourism cooperation of  countries alongside, and facilitates cross-boarder tourism. The 144 hours’ visa-free stay policy in many cities including Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, the high speed rail and highway system of world’s top operational mileage and improving system of civil and general aviation, as well as the international payment platforms with multilingual operational system, have all given tourists the green light to all cities freely. Featuring the Toilet Revolution, public service nowadays is optimizing, providing tourists with service information of the city, village or scenic as they open their phones and other devices. May tourists encounter any problem, they can dial the unified national hotline 12301 for in-time and efficient solutions from local tourist board, tourist police, tourist circuit court and market regulators.

The EU-China tourism year will boost exchanges among citizens of two sides, bringing more European friends to China. To be more attractive, we need to have more budgets on TV, broadcast, newspapers and online social medias, innovate in organizing exhibitions, road shows and promoting events, and invite more European tour wholesalers, professional journalists and opinion leaders for inspections, so as to cultivate thousands of experts in Chinese tourism industry. We also need further improvement on visa policies by asking ourselves: Can we lower the 150-euro visa fee? Can we shorten application period and improve efficiency? Can we extend the visa validation to one year, or even ten years?

We also need to show our European friends a real China, with the beauty beyond your imagination. The Yangtze River, Great Wall, Terra-Cotta Warriors, panda, Peking Opera and Kungfu indeed represent China. However, Beijing CBD, Shanghai Pudong new district, Guangzhou Canton Tower, Chongqing Liangjiangkou and Shenzhen Huaqiangbei commercial area, featuring fashion and modernity, also represent China. The vast land bearing the Chinese Dream of 1.4 billion people, also represents China. I sincerely hope our European friends can enjoy the real life of modern Chinese when they visit China, by visiting boutiques, supermarkets, food markets, museums, cinemas, theaters, as well as bars, tearooms and night fairs, or even by dancing with Chinese Aunties at squares. Speaking of the square dancing, it is really a good activity that combines dance, music, sport and social contact. For your next visit to China, whether for sightseeing, leisure, vacation, or meeting, business, study, square dancing is what I recommend and am willing to accompany. You will love it, for that I’m sure.

Distinguished mayor Luigi Brugnaro of Venice:

This is my first trip to this romantic water town, the famous “jewel of the Adriatic”.  After the meeting, I would like to visit the St. Mark's Square, the Phoenix Theatre, the Doge’s Palace and the Bridge of Sighs; I also would like to take the “Gondola” along the winding waterways when listening to the beautiful vocal written in Hsu Chih-mo’s poems; I also want to sit down in a cafe, and listen to household affairs in the songful Italian. Actually, tourists prefer lifestyle experiences of a city rather than those scenic spots on tourist brochures, as in this way local residents and tourists share the destination as a common life space. In China also sits a famous water town, Suzhou city. However, its tourism publication theme is not water, but Suzhou lifestyle featuring elegance and warmness. Only a city with glorious environment and rich history and civilization, as well as quality life and welcoming gesture, can constantly attract tourists for visiting, staying and sharing. In my mind, Venice is such a city.

Ladies and gentlemen:

Tourism is changing China and Europe as it changes the world. We are seeing increasing transnational investments and business operations in tourism industry, which, together with tourists’ expenditures, will bring diverse and wide interactions between tourism and social economy, and exert profound influence on employment, environment, great power relations and even civilization evolution. Looking into the future, we firmly hold that the optimizing fundamental of EU-China tourism remains unchanged; citizens’ wish for better tourism life remains unchanged; tourism industry’s commitment for quality and efficiency also remains unchanged.

Let’s remain true to our original aspiration and keep our mission firmly in mind. Let’s meet each other in half way, and share our efforts in building a new era of “kindness, inclusion, convenience and quality” for EU-China tourism!

(Author: Daibin)

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