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    Friday, September 29, 2023

    China to Become World's Largest Travel Market in Coming Years -- Tourism Council Chief

    The chief executive of the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) said the sector's recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic was going "really well," forecasting that China is set to become the world's biggest travel and tourism market in the next three to five years.

    "China has finally reopened, and we're seeing that complete rebound," Julia Simpson, president and CEO of the WTTC, told Xinhua in an interview during the recently held Global Tourism Economy Forum (GTEF) in Macao, China.

    Noting that before the pandemic, travel and tourism represented one in every 10 U.S. dollars made on the planet, 10 percent of the global economy and one in 10 jobs, the pandemic caused many job losses and business closures, according to the chief.

    "But by the end of 2023, we should be getting almost back to the 10 trillion U.S. dollars this sector was making globally," she said.

    Convening around the theme of "Destination 2030: Unlocking the Power of Tourism for Business and Development," the forum brought together representatives from governments, destinations and businesses on Sept. 20-23.

    According to World Tourism Organization data, international tourism has continued to recover from the worst crisis in its history, as arrival numbers reached 84 percent of pre-pandemic levels between January and July 2023.

    The optimization and adjustment of the COVID-19 response measures in China, as well as the reopening of other Asian markets and destinations, is expected to continue boosting travel both within the region and to other parts of the world, the organization wrote in a press release this week.

    On China's travel and tourism outlook, Simpson elaborated: "China is such an important market. It's worth 1.8 trillion U.S. dollars. It lost some of that value during the pandemic, but it has reopened again, and the Chinese are back out traveling. And also, people are beginning to visit China. The outlook is very good."

    "We're expecting, over the next three to five years, China to become the biggest travel and tourism market ... It's incredible," she said.

    The WTTC was founded in 1990 and is a London-based non-profit organization. Its members include CEOs, chairpersons, and presidents of private-sector travel and tourism businesses worldwide.

    Simpson also announced that Jin Jiang International, a Chinese state-owned tourism and hospitality company headquartered in Shanghai, has become its new partner. 

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