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China to host UNWTO 2017
China has won the bid to host the 22nd United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) General Assembly in September 2017.
Zambia hosted the event in 2013 which has raised the profile of the country’s tourism sector.
First secretary for tourism and Zambia’s liaison officer to the UNWTO Percy Ngwira said in a statement issued in Lusaka that the 21st UNWTO general assembly taking place in Medellin, Columbia approved China’s hosting of the event.
“China went through unchallenged as other contenders did not fulfil the requirements,” Mr Ngwira said. He said China graciously accepted the opportunity and offered delegates to the 21st session General Assembly to a China night themed dubbed “Chengdu can do” that was characterised by Chinese music, martial arts and Chinese foods with Pandas as the city of Chengdu, the host city is the home of the Pandas.
And UNWTO Taleb Rifai said China’s importance as a driver of tourism development cannot be understated. Dr Rifai said China is not only the world’s fourth most visited country, but the number one source market in the world and a prominent leader in domestic tourism.
“The numbers, alongside the Chinese authorities continued recognition of tourism as a strategic pillar of the national economy and an effective development tool, make China a fitting host for the next UNWTO General Assembly,” Dr Rifai said.
The 22nd session of the assembly will be a unique one as the World Tourism Organisation will be electing a new secretary general to replace Dr Rifai whose term will be coming to an end. According to UNWTO data, in 2014, China received 55.6 million international tourism arrivals, generating 56.9 billion US$ in international tourism receipts. In the same year, Chinese tourists spent US$164.9 billion abroad, making China a clear leader in terms of international tourism expenditure.