Addressing the China Tourism Forum at the World Travel Market, International Council for Tourism Partners (ICTP) President Professor Geoffrey Lipman reflected on his 3 decades of engagement with China travel and tourism and pointed to the systematic build-up of what he described as “a great positive force for change” for the whole world.
Lipman described his involvement with China’s aviation and tourism growth, with IATA. The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) and UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and expressed confidence in the vision, planning, and execution of China’s leadership. He highlighted the following reasons:
-The immense size and potential of demand for the China travel experience, predicting that within 5 years it will be the largest domestic, inbound, and outbound market in the world.
-The domestic market today of 2.6 billion trips is already more than double the total international travel that UNWTO predicted for 2012.
-The fact that China has declared this sector to be a strategic pillar of economic growth, a key consumption engine in its 12th 5-year plan and an integral part of its strengthening international trade and development collaboration.
-That it has delivered on this by focusing its economic stimulus spending on fast roads, high speed trains, and dozens of new airports – the fundamental infrastructure of travel.
-Its investment in partnerships with African nations will lead to a great win-win travel flow, much of it through the emerging gulf mega hubs and airlines. This will be a major factor in the continent’s development agenda and the millennium development goals as a whole.
-China’s commitment to carbon reduction targets and its determination to be a leader in renewable energy will not only make it a champion of Green Growth, but will help the travel and tourism sector in its own transformation. This point had been re-affirmed by Maurice Strong, one of the architects of modern sustainable development thinking, during the recent Rio+20 Earth Summit.