The first World Conference on Tourism for Development opened in Beijing on the 19th of May. Representatives from more than 107 countries and 15 international organizations, as well as executives from tourism research organizations, universities and enterprises attended the conference. The themes of the conference were “Sustainable Development through Tourism”, “Tourism for Peace” and “Tourism for Poverty Reduction”.
Li Jinzao, the minister of the China National Tourism Administration, claimed that the number of outbound tourists from China would exceed 600 million, and tourism would help 12 million to 14 million Chinese people move out of poverty in the coming 5 years. 150 million Chinese tourists would travel to the countries on the “One Belt and One Road” (一带一路, referring to the “Silk Road Economic Belt” and the “21st century Maritime Silk Road”), spending a total of 200 billion dollars.
The World Tourism Organization data showed that China has been the country spending the most on outbound tourism since 2012, contributing to more than 13% of total world tourism income. In 2015, tourism comprised 10.8% of total domestic GDP and 10.2% of total employment. As a comprehensive industry, tourism can promote other industries as well, such as transportation, hotels and restaurants. Research reports from the World Tourism Organization point out that each person employed in tourism can create space for 5 more employees in related industries.