Beijing to build headquarters for organization
Updated: 2013-09-12 07:35
By Wang Qian (China Daily)
Facility will serve as a bridge between member cities and residents of capital
Beijing will build a headquarters for the World Tourism Cities Federation within three years to attract more cities to join the organization, a senior official said.
"The headquarters will serve as a bridge between residents of Beijing and the member cities to help tourists choose their destination and travel conveniently," Yu Debin, vice-chairman of the Beijing Municipal Commission of Tourism Development, told China Daily in an exclusive interview on Tuesday.
The federation has 72 member cities around the world such as Barcelona, Cairo, London and San Francisco.
"We hope more cities will join the World Tourism Cities Federation, which will provide an open platform for tourism cities," Yu said.
Every September, the federation will hold a tourism summit. The second Beijing Fragrant Hills Tourism Summit is scheduled for Wednesday through Saturday and more than 300 representatives from 66 Chinese and international cities are expected to participate.
"At the summit, we will promote cooperation between member cities, share experiences and discuss the difficulties in developing tourism," Yu said.
An evaluation system to rank the world's tourism cities will be launched during the summit, which will objectively reflect a city's tourism resources, he added.
"The world's tourism city ranking is expected to open to the public next year," Yu said.
An expert committee under the federation, consisting of five Chinese and 10 foreign tourism experts, will be established at the summit to evaluate cities, Yu said.
During the summit, Beijing residents can enjoy foreign culture and food, while the city will highlight its own beauty.
Around 10 experience programs will be open to the public at the world's tourism city experience center, where visitors can view slices of life and culture in different cities.
Nine girls wearing qipao, a traditional one-piece Chinese dress, will show audiences the image of a Nine-Dragon Wall when they walk together.
A Nine-Dragon wall is a screen wall with nine different Chinese dragons, typically found in imperial Chinese palaces and gardens.
"We will make full use of this opportunity to let the world know more about Beijing, and China," Yu said.
The World Tourism Cities Federation is a non-government organization, established by 17 Chinese cities, including Beijing, Tianjin, Chongqing and Guangzhou, and 20 cities in foreign countries, including Los Angeles, Vienna, Moscow and Barcelona, in 2012.
The federation signed a memorandum of cooperation with the International Health and Environmental Organization of the United Nations in May to boost the sustainable development of the tourism industry.
China was the third-most-popular tourism destination for the past two years, according to a report released by the United Nations World Tourism Organization.
In 2012, 58 million international tourists visited the country, spending about $50 billion, the report said.
To attract more international visitors, four Chinese cities - Beijing, Guangzhou, Shanghai and Chengdu - adopted a 72-hour visa-free policy earlier this year.
The policy allows transit passengers from 45 countries who have valid visas and a flight ticket to a third country to stay up to 72 hours in the four cities.
Yu Debin, vice-chairman of the Beijing Municipal Commission of Tourism Development, says the city will build a headquarters for the World Tourism Cities Federation within three years. Wang Jing / China Daily
(China Daily USA 09/12/2013 page10)