Sarajevo Hosts the 3rd China-CEE High-Level Meeting on Tourism Cooperation
On November 24, the 3rd China-CEE High-Level Meeting on Tourism Cooperation was staged in Sarajevo, the capital city of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Chairman of the Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina Denis Zvizdić, Vice Chairman and Minister of Foreign Trade and Economic Relation Mirko Sarovic and CNTA Vice Chairman Du Jiang attended and addressed the opening ceremony. The meeting gathered heads of tourism authorities and representatives of other stakeholders from China and Central and Eastern European countries. Chinese Ambassador to Bosnia and Herzegovina Chen Bo was also invited to the meeting.
Messrs Zvizdić and Sarovic gave the Chinese delegation a big welcome on behalf of the 16 CEE countries and the organizing committee in their opening remarks. They noted that the tourism exchange between CEE countries and China has been growing steadily in recent years and CEE is growing into a popular overseas destination for Chinese tourists. The establishment of the China-CEE Tourism Coordination Center and the China-CEE Association of Tourism Promotion Agencies and Businesses fully expresses their common wish for deeper exchange and closer cooperation. CEE countries would strengthen research on the Chinese tourism market and issue more tourist-friendly policies regarding visa, transport and infrastructure construction to cater to the needs of Chinese tourists. They also hoped that the meeting would help strengthen exchange, reach consensus and deepen cooperation among all the parties present.
In his opening remarks, Du first congratulated on the opening of the meeting on behalf of CNTA and its Chairman Li Jinzao. He said, “We are glad to see what we have achieved in tourism cooperation with Central and Eastern Europe and confident in our future cooperation. We are willing to follow the principles of consultation, joint contribution and shared development, advocate the Silk Road spirit of peace, cooperation, openness, inclusiveness, mutual learning and mutual benefits, push ahead our pragmatic tourism cooperation with Central and Eastern European countries, keep facilitating personnel exchange, expand two-way tourism exchange, and significantly improve the tourism development capacity of all countries concerned, to jointly achieve inclusive, sustainable tourism development.”
At the following ministerial roundtable, Du added, “We have the most consensus and least differences in tourism cooperation which is most likely to grow into a highlight of all our economic cooperation aspects. We are willing to share our tourism development opportunities with all Central and Eastern European countries, deepen tourism exchange and cooperation and jointly promote the healthy and sustainable tourism development.” To this end, he suggested: first, stepping up tourism marketing efforts; second, expanding two-way tourism exchange; third, expanding the tourism cooperation platform; fourth, organizing vocational training.
Other speakers included Vice Chairman of the Council of Ministers and Minister of Foreign Trade and Economic Relation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Deputy Tourism Minister of Bulgaria, State Councilor of the Ministry of Tourism of Croatia, Deputy Minister of Economy of Lithuania, State Councilor of Tourism of Bosnia and Herzegovina, ministerial commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Hungary, representative of the Ministry of Trade, Tourism and Telecommunications of Serbia and Deputy Tourism Minister of Romania. Delegates to the roundtable introduced their respective tourism cooperation with China within the 16+1 framework and next step. They agreed that CEE was of prominent geographical significance in the Belt and Road Initiative proposed by China and the tourism cooperation with China had greatly boosted economic development in CEE. While playing their respective comparative advantage, CEE countries should work together to develop and market CEE as a single tourist destination, build up its image as a safe destination embracing cultural diversity, and collaborate in developing multi-destination travel products for Chinese tourists. They should also simplify customs clearance procedures, open more flights to China, improve Chinese-speaking services and attract tourists to spend longer in their country.
After the meeting, the Joint Declaration on Tourism Cooperation was issued.
During the meeting, representatives of China Tourism Academy took part in panel discussions and those of the Head Office of China International Travel Service in business matchup talks.