China will actively take part in regional tourism cooperation in order to promote domestic tourism, said Shao Qiwei, director of China National Tourism Administration (CNTA).
Shao made these remarks here Monday during the third Sichuan Tourism Development Conference. As economic globalization proceeds, regional cooperation has gained more popularity among world tourism circles. East Asian nations, ASEAN nations and Caribbean nations all regard tourism as a major component of regional economic cooperation, Shao said.
Shao said China will actively take part in and further promote regional tourism cooperation. For a long time before the 1990s, global tourism was focused on Europe and the United States.
Recently, however, the tourism industry in east Asian nations has been picking up. It ranked second in the world in 2002. China's rapid tourism development has attracted world attention, with the number of inbound travelers ranked fourth in 2004, providing a strong stimulus for Asian tourism cooperation, the tourist official said.
According to the World Tourism Organization, in the next five years the growth of European and American tourism will slow down, while East Asian and pan-Pacific nations will maintain rapid growth. If recent trends persist, by 2020 China will become the world's biggest tourism destination and the world's fourth largest tourist source nation, Shao said.
(Xinhua News Agency August 30, 2005)