Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao stressed that the first two decades of
the new century would be crucial to the development of tourism in
China, as the country builds a well-off society and accelerates
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the 15th session of the World
Tourism Organization General Assembly which opened in Beijing
yesterday, the premier said China would develop tourism into a
major industry, protect and develop tourist resources and strive to
realize the sustainable development of tourism.
Tourism ministers from more than 100 countries and nearly 1,000
delegates from around the world were attending the meeting.
Wen said that since the middle of last century, modern tourism had
been on the rise around the world. The number of tourists had kept
growing, the scale of tourist industry had continued to expand and
the position of tourism in the economy had improved markedly.
called tourism an important channel for cultural exchange,
enhancing friendship and in expanding communications among the
people of all countries. Tourism had an increasingly profound
influence on life and social progress.
Noting that ancient Chinese philosophers had put forward the idea
of tourism, Wen said the government placed great importance on the
industry. China's tourism sector had grown rapidly and become a
rising industry that showed great vigor and potential, he said.
The country ranked among top destinations in the world in terms of
the number of visitors and in foreign exchange income from tourism.
The number of Chinese tourists going abroad was growing
Wen said that despite the severe acute respiratory syndrome
outbreak in spring, China had adopted prompt and effective measures
to help the severely affected industry to recover and expand
said China had unique and rich tourist resources such as beautiful
natural scenery and a great historical and cultural heritage. The
country had 56 ethnic groups and 29 global cultural and natural
heritage sites and the landscape of urban and rural areas was
changing rapidly along with the social reform.
All these factors had created favorable conditions for the
development of tourism, Wen added.
The Chinese government welcomed friends from all countries as
tourists, and will do its utmost to guarantee their health and
security, he said.
The government encouraged more Chinese to travel abroad. It wanted
wide-ranging cooperation with all countries to develop global
(Xinhua News Agency October 20, 2003)