Interview: UNWTO adoption of Chinese as official language shows China's growing role in global tourism: senior official

Source: Xinhua| 2021-06-18 22:54:33|Editor: huaxia

MADRID, June 18 (Xinhua) -- The United Nations World Tourism Organization's (UNWTO) recent decision to adopt Chinese as one of its official languages reflects China's growing importance in the world tourism market, the organization's Secretary General Zurab Pololikashvili has told Xinhua.

In a written interview with Xinhua, Pololikashvili said that "China is playing an increasingly significant role in the global tourism sector."

China "is a top destination in its own right and, prior to the pandemic, had established itself as the number one source market for international tourists. Including Chinese as one of UNWTO's official languages ensures the increased participation of China in our organization's work, reflecting the significance of the country to global tourism," he wrote.

According to Pololikashvili, the addition of Chinese "means the UNWTO now has all six official languages of the United Nations in alignment with the UN's objective of promoting multilingualism and good communication between nations and peoples."

He explained that the large numbers of Chinese tourists "help support jobs and businesses" throughout the world.

"In 2019, before the pandemic, Chinese outbound travel continued to fuel growth in many destinations inside and outside the Asia-Pacific region," he said.

Pololikashvili also praised the establishment of nine Sustainable Tourism Observatories in China. These are part of an international network of tourism observatories monitoring the economic, environmental and social impact of tourism at the destination level.

Pololikashvili said that "under the umbrella of the UNWTO International Network of Sustainable Tourism Observatories (INSTO), namely Yangshuo, Huangshan, Xishuangbanna, Chengdu, Henan, Zhangjiajie, Kanas, Changshu and Jiangmen," and "the Sun Yat-sen University and the Monitoring Centre for UNWTO Sustainable Tourism Observatories (MCSTO) have made great contributions to supporting this great UNWTO initiative for sustainable tourism since 2006."

He hailed the role of the Belt and Road Initiative launched by the Chinese government, which he believes is "building a new pattern of international tourism."

"This ambitious project not only advances economic growth and creates jobs, but it also preserves the history of a region and protects heritage for generations to come," Pololikashvili said.

He also recalled China's strict measures to control the spread of COVID-19, which had allowed the return of domestic travel within the country.

Although international tourism would "take longer to return," Pololikashvili believes the return of domestic tourism in China "sets an example for the rest of the world. It shows that tourism can restart and be managed safely, and how the benefits this brings are enjoyed far beyond the sector itself." Enditem