WTCF Founder Yan Han Advocates “Better City Life Through Tourism”

Addressing the ITB Berlin Convention opening day, the WTCF Deputy Secretary-General presented valuable tourism data

As co-host of ITB Berlin Convention 2017, the World Tourism Cities Federation (WTCF) had a significant presence this year, not least the involvement of Yan Han, Deputy Secretary-General, WTCF. In May 2013, he attended the UN Roundtable on “Sustainable Urban Development and Tourism” at the Headquarters of the United Nations, and he has promoted industrial cooperation between Chinese cities and those in Europe, America and Africa. A key speaker on March 8th (Wednesday) he offered his greeting to the convention as part of ITB Future Day. Speaking to ITB Berlin News, Yan explained the origins and objectives of WTCF:

WTCF is an international tourism organisation voluntarily formed by well-known tourism cities and tourism-related institutions around the world under the initiative of Beijing, where it is also based. With 181 members, including 120 cities and 61 institutional members, WTCF offers its members all kinds of services, including exhibition activities, publicity, themed discussions, consulting, industry training, tourism program investment and financing. Berlin is the Vice-Chairman City of the WTCF Council. They actively participate in various WTCF activities and events and that offers significant support for us. ITB Berlin is the world’s largest tourism convention and it carries a great reputation and many honours. WTCF is recognised as one of the fastest growing international organisations. Among our 120 city members, 43 of them are located in the Europe region. So ITB Berlin, the most influential convention in the world tourism sector, is an important platform for WTCF in displaying and promoting its members as well as itself to tourists from all around the world.

What can we learn from your research into outbound Chinese tourism?

Tourism is the communication of cultures and the integration of civilisations. When catering to tourists, we need to comprehensively understand the backgrounds of our target groups, such as their history, arts, attitudes, customs, ethics, etc. So if we develop tourism well then we set a good fundament for the worldwide communication and co-operation. Recently, Chinese tourists are drawing more and more attention from tourism destinations, and their priorities are safety, tourism quality, completion of fundamental facilities, good catering services and Wi-Fi.

You bring extensive research to ITB Berlin 2017 – can you give us a summary of your findings?

The reports show that in 2016, global tourism has become a vital drive for global economy as it sustained a high growth rate while the global economy has been recovering slowly and the international trade has slowed down. For the first time, global tourist arrivals in 2016 passed the 10 billion mark, reaching a total 10.5 billion which is 1.4 times the global population, up by 4.8 % over last year. Global tourism revenue reached $5.17trillion which amounts to 7.0% of the global GDP – a 3.6% rise since last year. The growth of the global tourism economy contributed to 5.49% of the global GDP growth in 2016. Global tourist arrivals and tourism revenue are expected to increase by 7.5% and 4.2% respectively in 2017.

Several key findings include:
• Global Tourism Economy Grew Faster than the Global Economy
• Tourism Played a Significant Role in Rebalancing the Global Economy
• Sharing Economy Was Rebuilding the Tourism Industry
• Global Tourism Facilitation Improved Continually
• Demographic Changes Had Profound Influence on the Tourism Development Pattern
• Cities Became the Pivots of World Tourism Economy

What is in the pipeline after ITB Berlin?

We are going to host the Asia-Pacific Tourism Conference in Penang, Malaysia, with the theme of One Belt One Road: Construction of Tourism City Corridor and City Hub. In April, we will organise the second International Tourism Destination Promotion and Marketing Training Course in Beijing to provide a comprehensive introduction on Chinese tourists’ cultural backgrounds, tourism demands, and consumer behaviours. Besides, some issues will be further discussed including how to develop marketing strategies, seek partners, and deal with public relations in the Chinese market. In September, the annual Fragrant Hills Tourism Summit will be hosted in Los Angeles.