IMFT 2014 Opens at Zhengzhou, China


     On November 15, the three-day International Mayor’s Forum on Tourism (IMFT) had its grand opening at Zhengzhou, China. In the meantime, Henan Observatory on Sustainable Tourism, UNWTO was inaugurated. Governor of Henan Provincial Government, Xie Fuzhan, Director of China National Tourism Administration, Li Jinzao and Deputy Director, Wu Wenxue, Secretary General of UNWTO, Taleb Rifia and Executive Director, Zhu Shanzhong, Chairman of Executive Board of Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA), Scott Supernaw, Governor of South Bohemia, Czech Republic, Jiri Zimola, Governor of Siem Reap, Cambodia, Khim Bun Song, Member of the Standing Committee of Henan Provincial Committee and Secretary of Zhengzhou Municipal Party Committee, Wu Tianjun, Deputy Director of Henan Provincial People’s Congress, Chu Yaping, Vice Governor of Henan Provincial Government, Zhao Jiancai, Vice Chairman of Henan Provincial Political Consultative Conference, Deng Yongjian, and Mayors and representatives of 63 cities in 25 countries, including UK, Canada, Germany, Italy, Australia, etc.; Mayors of other 21 domestic cities, including Beijing, Chongqing, Xi’an, Hangzhou, Guangzhou, Harbin, etc.; Directors of Tourism Administrations in some provinces and cities, Directors of famous domestic and foreign traveling agencies and airlines, investor representatives, journalists of mainstream media attended the opening ceremony. Vice Governor of Henan Provincial Government, Zhang Guangzhi acted as the host of this opening ceremony.
      Governor of Henan Provincial Government, Xie Fuzhan, Director of China National Tourism Administration, Li Jinzao and Secretary General of UNWTO, Taleb Rifia jointly activated the opening device and unveiled the nameplate of Henan Observatory on Sustainable Tourism, UNWTO.
     This forum is co-hosted by China National Tourism Administration, UNWTO and Henan Provincial Government, supported by The World Travel & Tourism Council and PATA and jointly undertaken by Henan Provincial Tourism Administration, Overseas Chinese Affairs Office of Henan Province and Zhengzhou Municipal Government. 
     On behalf of Henan Provincial Party Committee, Henan Provincial Government and 100 million of Henan people, Xie Fuzhan welcomed the guests of IMFT 2014 and expressed his gratitude for the support to Henan’s development from China National Tourism Administration, UNWTO, other provinces, cities and friends from all walks of life. He said, located at the hinterland of China, Henan has been praised as “hinterland of nine districts and radiating ten provinces” since the ancient times. With a total land area of 167,000 km2, Henan is home to over 100 million people and has abundant human resources. Henna province, boasting a long history and profound culture, is an important birthplace of the Chinese nation and Chinese civilization. In 5,000 years of brilliant Chinese civilization, Henan has been the political, economic and cultural center for over 3,000 years. Half of the eight historical capitals of China are located in Henan; and Kaifeng, the ancient capital of seven dynasties, was the world’s largest city in A.D. 11th Century. Henan has a large span over Yangtze River Basin, Huaihe River Basin, Yellow River Basin and Haihe River Basin. The natural landscape of Henan has both grand features of northern China and the elegance of southern China. As a fully-functional comprehensive transportation hub, Henan has obvious advantages in modern logistics. It has a complete industrial system, a broad market space, remarkable element guarantee capability and occupies an important strategic position in coordinated development of regional economy in China. Moreover, Henan is an important economic province, large agricultural province, emerging industrial province and a cultural province with huge influence. 
     Xie Fuzhan introduced the economic and social development of Henan in recent years and highlighted the current development of Henan’s tourism. He said, tourism is an emerging sun-rising industry that facilitates the prosperity of economy, progress of society, Henan’s opening to the world and the construction of a harmonious society. In recent years, Henan Provincial Party Committee and Henan Provincial Government have paid special attention to the development of tourism by increasing the investment, creating high-quality tourism, standardizing services and elevating the image of tourism. And it has made remarkable achievements. In 2013, Henan Province received 410 million domestic and foreign visitors, a year-on-year increase of 13%; it realized a total tourist income of RMB 387.55 billion, a year-on-year increase of 15%. Tourism has become an important driving force of social and economic development of Henan Province and a forceful demonstration of Henan’s image.  
    Xie Fuzhan said, this forum acts as a platform for Henan’s tourism to aim for national and global market and strengthens its communication with other tourism cities at home and abroad and provides great opportunities for friends all over the globe to focus on Henan, learn more about Henan and make investments in Henan. Therefore, it will act as an active driving force for the structural adjustment of Henan’s economy and the sound development of Henan’s tourism. As the host, Henan will strive to build a better environment for people all over the globe to make investments, start business and enjoy sight-seeing tours in Henan with more open attitude and more practical measures. Moreover, Henan will further promote comprehensive communication and cooperation with domestic and foreign tourist cities and seek mutual benefits and win-win results in joint hands with entrepreneurs. 
     Director of China National Tourism Administration, Li Jinzao said in his speech that Henan not only has a time-honored history, brilliant culture as well as hard-working and wise people, but also it is the cradle to various scenic spots with unique features. In recent years, underpinned by the focused attention and huge support of Henan Provincial Party Committee and Henan Provincial Government, Henan’s tourism has realized a leapfrog development. He believed that this forum will burst with new ideas and witness a bright future together with world’s other tourist cities. At the end of his speech, he wished a complete success for this forum. He believed that tourism is the business card of a city. As tourism keeps developing, it has evolved into an ever-growing comprehensive industry, rather than just a member of the spiritual field and it has considerable impact over different aspects of urban development. Tourism is both soft power and hard power of urban development. Therefore, in the process of developing tourism, the law guiding the development of tourism and urban development, and the relationship between these two shall be explored. He proposed that relevant tourism supporting facilities in world's tourist cities be further promoted; convenient measures, including landing visa, visa-free for group travel, electronic visa, etc. be facilitated; communication and transportation among different tourist cities be strengthened, so that tourists can have a nice and convenient trip in famous tourist cities all over the world. Meanwhile, tourist cities are vigorously forging tourism brand; planning and promoting exquisite urban tour lines; strengthening the research and academic communication of urban tourism; encouraging teenagers to participate in research and study tours, etc. He hoped that participants could burst with new ideas and witness a bright future together with world’s other tourist cities. Besides, he was passionate to introduce the Hongqi Canal in Linzhou, Henan to the participants. He said that visitors can experience the struggling spirit of the Chinese nation that constantly strives to become stronger.
     Secretary General of UNWTO, Taleb Rifia said in his opening speech that IMFT, which has been hosted in Zhengzhou for four times, has become a tradition. He hoped that this tradition could be continued and that this forum could keep acting as a platform for communication and cooperation for world’s tourist cities. He said, the continuous development of tourism has become the development focus and the major force that drives economic growth for some countries and cities. However, rapid development of tourism must be accompanied by huge responsibilities and the rapid growth of tourism economy must be accompanied by meticulous management and persistent and close observation. Besides, moral standards and the standard for sustainable development shall be firmly implemented in the process of developing tourism. He believed that a city that benefits its citizens is bound to benefit its visitors. As a result, the development of tourism shall be combined with urban development, that is to say, no privileges shall be given to develop tourism and the development of tourism should not consume an excess of urban resources. In the meantime, urban development should be highlighted in order to give visitors a complete and unforgettable tourism experience.
     Since 2008, China National Tourism Administration and Henan Provincial Government has been co-hosting IMFT in every two years and has hosted IMFT for 3 consecutive times. It was the first time that UNWTO became the host unit of this forum. Besides, the inauguration ceremony of Henan Observatory on Sustainable Tourism, UNWTO was held at the same time, which further increased the international awareness and influence of this forum. This forum will focus on three major tops for discussion: “develop recreational tourist economy and support the structural adjustment of economy”, “interconnection of large tourism industries and the establishment of international tourism destination” and “with the assistance of science and technology, tourism promotes the development of an intelligent city”. During this forum, Mayors or representative of mayors of domestic and foreign tourist cities and tourism investors will communicate with each other on the ideas of urban tourism development and have discussions on current hot issues in global tourism industry.


Copyright by Zhengzhou Municipal Tourism Administration