From 11 September to 16 September, the 22nd General Assembly of the World Tourism Organization is held in Chengdu, Sichuan. During this session, stakeholders focus on solutions to develop sustainable tourism.
The Belt and Road initiative was one of the topics for discussion at the UNWTO Assembly. State representatives participating in the Belt and Road initiative have initiated debate on the importance of deepening cooperation on tourism along the new Silk Roads. “Chengdu Initiative on Strengthen Tourism Cooperation along the Belt and Road” has for main objectives to promote the coordination of tourism policies, the strengthening of exchanges at all levels, the media coverage of nascent destinations and the safety of Belt and Road destinations.
Tourism in the regions of the ancient Silk Roads can be considered as an accelerator of growth which can lead to the development of other economic sectors, but it is also a matter of controlling tourism flows in order to limit its impact on the environment. Promoters of the “Belt and Road” will have to integrate an environmental dimension in all their projects to build sustainable tourism destinations.
In 2016, nearly 122 million Chinese traveled abroad, and this phenomenon will increase with China’s economic development. States involved in the Belt and Road initiative must take these new trends into consideration. Although most countries aim at attracting visitors from China, they should also focus on finding the balance point between offering an entertaining experience and preserving their environment. Construction of adequate infrastructure must be at the center of the BRI’s tourism projects to better accompany tourist flows; greater coordination on tourism is therefore a necessity for the BRI.