Tourism Festival connecting cities along the Maritime Silk Road kicks off
China National Tourism Administration Data Center announced the establishment a sub-center in China's coastal city Fuzhou, at the opening ceremony of the Third Maritime Silk Road International Tourism Festival on Nov. 19.
The Fuzhou sub-center will mainly focus on the tourism industry in cities along the Maritime Silk Road.
According to its first data report, among the nine Maritime Silk Road cities in China, Guangzhou is the most popular tourist destination attracting about 12 million people in the first three quarters of 2017. Nanjing and Fuzhou come to the second and the third respectively. Among the nine cities mentioned in the report, over 60 percent of tourists booked their trips using mobile devices
This was the first time China has released and shared the Maritime Silk Road tourism market data internationally. Robert Roland Travers, a consultant to the United Nations World Tourism Organization, believes the tourism industry has become one of the most important industries in the world and still has great potential especially among the Belt and Road countries.
"Tourism accounts for 10 percent of global GDP. One in ten jobs are supported by tourism. So it is very important. And I think China is doing very well. As this event is a good example of bringing people together to realize the potential that if people work together and cooperate together peacefully through tourism, great prosperity can come," said Travers.
.The big data center is just one of the highlights of this year's Maritime Silk Road International Tourism Festival held in Fuzhou. Dozens of strategic cooperation agreements and purchasing deals will be signed during the festival as it aims to integrate tourism resources and provide special cultural experiences for the whole market. More than 300 industry insiders from over 30 countries and regions alongside the Maritime Silk Road will attend this year's event.
Debbie Wisby, council member for Glamorgan Spring Bay in Tasmania, Australia, said this festival gives her a good opportunity to learn more about China.
"I think it is an excellent opportunity. The Australian people need to understand China's culture, and we need to understand how to best service the Chinese people when they come to Australia. So having this sort of things gives us the opportunity to understand China and your culture much better. And I think it gives us the opportunity to tell the people back in Australia how beautiful China is and how beautiful Fuzhou is," said Wisby.
Ahmad Alaqrbawi is the deputy general manager of Jordanian travel agency "Enjoy Jordan." Having worked in China's tourism market for years, he can speak fluent Chinese and now wants to encourage more people from his hometown to travel to China.
"My first purpose is let Jordanians have more understanding about Chinese culture. We have been to many countries like the U.S. and Europe. We want to develop a new travel route in China. China has a rich culture, and the culture is so diverse from north to south Fujian is a very important place on the Belt and Road, and we hope to develop more travel routes here," said Alaqrbawi.
As an annual event since 2015, the Maritime Silk Road International Tourism Festival in Fuzhou has also helped to boost the local travel market. Statistics show that during the festival in 2016, the city received more than 10 million international tourists, which was an over 24 percent increase from a year before. This year, the festival will run for more than 40 days ending on December 31.