Atlanta Hosts 2017 China-U.S. Tourism Leadership Summit
On September 21 (ET), the 2017 China-U.S. Tourism Leadership Summit was convened in Atlanta, the capital of the State of Georgia, the United States. The opening ceremony gathered speakers including CNTA chairman Li Jinzao, Chinese consul-general in Huston Li Qiangmin, President and CEO of Brand USA Christopher Thompson, Executive Director Isabel Hill of the National Travel and Tourism office of the U.S. Department of Commerce, Georgia governor Nathan Deal, and Atlanta mayor Kasim Reed, as well as a 200-plus audience including representatives of Chinese and U.S. tourism authorities and business insiders.
In his remarks, Li Jinzao recognized the unprecedented sound momentum of Sino-U.S. tourism cooperation and attributed it to government support and joint efforts of business insiders in both countries. “The personnel exchange is growing robustly and the inbound and outbound travel market continues to proper, which has not just boosted economic and social development in China and the United States, but also contributed to Sino-U.S. relations,” said Li. He then welcomed more American tourists to China and suggested both sides “jointly propel the sustainable development of the tourism industry and actively leverage the role of tourism in job creation, poverty reduction and livelihood improvement; step up marketing cooperation between tourist destinations to complement their respective strengths, jointly explore the market, attract tourists from each other, and boost the influence and appeal of tourist destinations in both countries; deepen the tourism exchange and cooperation mechanism, construct a routine regulation, communication and coordination mechanism for the tourism market, and jointly safeguard a healthy, orderly inbound/outbound travel environment; give active play to the role of the newly-established World Tourism Alliance so that it can better serve tourism companies and tourists and promote international tourism exchange and cooperation.”
Li Qiangmin remarked, “Sino-U.S. relations are one of the most important bilateral relations in the world, in which people-to-people exchange and tourism cooperation play a key role. Last year, the two-way personnel exchange between us two countries exceeded five million visits, and it is expected to grow.”
Mr. Thompson said the Leadership Summit was a gala in the Chinese and American tourism industry, a high-level dialogue between tourism professionals in both countries and an opportunity for them to deepen win-win cooperation. “We highly value the Chinese market, have opened four representative offices in China and are working hard to improve our tourist services and the travel experience of inbound tourists. We hope to lure more and more Chinese tourists to the United States.”
Ms. Hill shared her recent trip to the 22nd UNWTO General Assembly in Chengdu. “It was a huge success. We discussed tourism cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative. The World Tourism Alliance was formed. And China expressed clearly her stance and ideas regarding international cooperation. In the past decade, China and the United States have made huge progress in coordinating policies, reducing barriers to personnel exchange and deepening mutual understanding. I look forward to deeper bonds and closer cooperation between us.”
Governor Deal welcomed the Chinese delegation led by Li Jinzao. He said, “Georgia has maintained close ties with China in various fields and I’ve visited China for many times, working hard to promote exchange and cooperation in areas of investment, tourism and partnership. The Atlanta-based Delta Airlines will resume direct flights between Atlanta and Shanghai in July 2018, which will make it more convenient for economic and trade contacts and people-to-people exchange between Georgia and China.”
The Chinese delegation was composed of representatives of tourism authorities in Beijing, Shanghai, Zhejiang, Fujian, Jiangxi, Shandong, Henan, Guangdong, Guangxi, Hainan, Sichuan, Gansu, Qinghai, Ningxia and Xinjiang and tourism companies such as CITS, CYTS, Beijing Tourism Group, Spring Tour, Nanhu Travel, GZL, uzai.com, and CCT. They discussed extensively with U.S. peers over topics such as social media, the partnership between hotels and destinations, and the current situation and prospects of holistic tourism and proposed solutions, enhancing bilateral tourism exchange and cooperation.
Meanwhile, to lure more Chinese tourists to southern USA, the Southern United States (12 states) tourism promotion session and the promotion session for tourist attractions in Atlanta were staged.