UNWTO chief hails China's tourism law
Updated: 2013-05-01 03:13
MADRID - The Secretary General of the United Nations World Tourism Organization, Tabel Rifai this Tuesday hailed the new Chinese Tourism law.
The law, which is the first to be passed in China, reflects the country's status as the most important source market in the world with 83 million Chinese nationals travelling to foreign countries in 2012, while there were 2,900 million internal journeys made within the country during the year according to Chinese sources.
Meanwhile, China is now the third most popular tourist destination in the world with around 60 million foreign visitors last year.
The first tourism law will help to address industry problems, while at the same time protecting the interests of tourists and work towards promoting sustainable growth in the sector.
It will also face up to issues such as unfair competition and unexplained price rises, as well as the forced purchase of goods, which have been sources of discontent among visitors in the past, while at the same time laying down provisions to protect the right of tourists to get information, help and respect.
"The process which now translates into the first tourism law required all parties representing the tourism sector to agree and support this important endeavor. The final adoption of the tourism law will without a doubt represent another historical milestone in the development of tourism in China," Mr Rifai told Xinhua.
"Back in 2009 China set an international example when it defined the tourism sector as a pillar for its economic development and international image building. The recent announcement of the Outline Document on China Leisure Tourism was another important step in this regard as it will support the further growth of Chinese outbound tourism," he said.
From the organization's head office in Madrid, the UNWTO Secretary General was at pains to highlight how the new law offered much greater protection to visitors to China.
"One of the key aspects of the Law is how it deals with the rights of tourists," he explained. "In this regard, it is a key complement to existing legislation on consumer rights in China. We regard this element as an important contribution of China to the international implementation of the UNWTO Global Code of Ethics for Tourism," said Mr Rifai, who explained the law fit perfectly into the work of his organization to build an international convention to protect tourists and tourism enterprises
Finally he said the law would only help to strengthen the position of the tourist sector in China, "both as a destination and an outbound market."
"It also reflects the consolidation of the tourism sector within the Chinese economy. As such, the Law will lay a solid institutional foundation for China's tourism, at a time when the sector is striving to seek a development path that will sustain its activity economically and socially," he concluded.
The number of Chinese people travelling to other countries has grown from 10 million in the year 2000 to 83 million last year while the 60 million people visiting China mean it is now ranked just behind France and the USA as the biggest tourism source market.