Extensive Consultation, Joint Efforts, and Shared Benefits: Exploring the New Pattern of Quality Tourism Development
—— Keynote speech at the International Mayor’s Forum on Tourism
Dear Vice Minister Li Jinzao of Ministry of Culture and Tourism of the People’s Republic of China,
Dear Executive Director Zhu Shanzhong of the World Tourism Organization,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
On May 15, 2017, in his address at the Leaders Roundtable of the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, President Xi Jinping proposed the principle of “Extensive Consultation, Joint Efforts, and Shared Benefits”, which is also of significance for the practices of quality tourism development in the era of sharing economy.
In the era of sharing economy and all-for-one tourism, the development of urban quality tourism needs extensive consultation and wide agreement.In an opening economic system, people can move freely, and urban area is becoming a living space shared by local people and incoming tourists. In this space, local people have the demands for employment, consumption, and leisure, enterprises for production, logistics, and profit-making, and employees for income-increasing and pursuit of career dignity; and of course, tourists also have the demands for appreciation of beautiful scenery and sharing of wonderful life. Taking all these demands into account, the government should provide the supporting infrastructures and public services. In other words, when providing infrastructures and public services, the government should consider both the local people’s practical demands and the incoming tourists’ realistic demands. Nevertheless, we should and must admit it is almost impossible for so diversity of people to target the same goals and take the same actions; and there may be differences, contradictions, or even conflicts.
Let me take Zhengzhou for example. It is well-known that there are somepopular night markets at the First State-owned Cotton Mill, Jiankang Road, and Fengqing Road where local people can enjoy in their spare time a variety of snacks with special deliciousness and reasonable price. Thanks to the online promotion by Ctrip, Mafengwo, Gyer, Lushu, and Meituan-Dianping, those night markets are also being visited by more and more tourists. We can say this is not bad, because more tourists could bring more profits for the business people, and more taxation for the government, and increasing popularity for the city. However, this may also result in some challenges. For instance, there may be thepressures of price-rising, environment protection, public security, and netizen opinion, and more investment in public services by the government, as well as the complaint of lower income group that “the prosperity is none of our business, for we get nothing from it.” These challengesareoftenseen in scenic area construction, theme street development, and city image improvement, especially in the tourism development in economically-underdeveloped cities. Or even in an international metropolis like Hong Kong, tourists-increasing leads to rising price, and then local people, especially the youths at grassroot level, are more and more disappointed with the feeling of losing.
So, how shall we face such challenges? The best way is that we could seek for extensive consultation and choose the best option in the public investment, industrial planning, and product innovation. In the new era of mass tourism and under the new orientation of all-for-one tourism, urban tourism is transforming from the previous closed world centered around scenic area, hotel, and travel agency to an opening system with harmonious economic and social development and close interpersonal interaction. We should carry out well-planned social surveys, take pressure tests, hold extensive talks, and ensure constant visits, information publication, media promotion, and administrative plan. Those are either for tourism resource development, project construction and marketing promotion, or for formulation and implementation of medium-term and long-term development strategies. In the new era of mass tourism, tourists are asking more questions about quality than those about quantity, and rapid growth is giving way to quality development in tourism industry, which means that we are going into the new era of quality tourism. Without wide acknowledgement of the public and cooperation with all walks of life, quality tourism couldn’t have an environment for sustainable development. In this new era, urban tourism development should and must seek for the greatest social common divisor with the greatest sincerity and the most efforts.
Dear Mayors, Ladies and Gentlemen,
In the era of sharing economy and all-for-one tourism, the development of urban quality tourism needs joint efforts. Nowadays, taking a tour doesn’t simply means following the small flag of a guide and sightseeing whiling listening guide words. In fact, from gathering information about a destination and making decision on consumption, tourists have begun to know the image of a city, which is comprehensively dependent on the workof tourism promotion agency,urban impression in the stage of economic and social development, the civilized behaviors of business travelers and tourists in global context, and public opinions from social medias. Sometimes, tourists choose a city not because its image is advertised at the Time Square or on CCTV, but because they are touched afterlistening a classic song such as Hotel California, Casablanca, or Chengdu, or because you would invite all homeless people in the city to a free dinner at a five-star hotel which were given up by a large enterprise. Tourists will like and can feel the quality of a city, which is probably not in thegrand spectacle, the privilege of escorting by police cars, or the professionally-trained smile, but in the welcoming smile from the bottom of an immigration officer’s heart, the safety of a shared car driver, the trust and interaction of shared housing platforms such as Airbnb and Tujia, or the happy smiles on the faces of square dancers. The image of a city perceived by tourists is acomprehensive quality demonstrated form the inner and the outer of the city. It must and only could jointly shaped with joint efforts of the government, market, social organization, and local people.
Tourism, especially urban tourism, and the elements of economic and social development should be integrated and fostered in innovation. The integration of tourism with culture, science and technology, education, manufacture, finance, agriculture and farming village, and other sectors can be generalized as “tourism plus” or “plus tourism”. Urban tourism had undergone the era ofself-growing driven by demand and the era of industrial maturity oriented by resource development. Today it is entering into a new era of life-leading and content creation. In this era, local people, producers, business entities, and public institutions are of course the leading powers of urban tourism. Meanwhile, we should know that tourists not only appreciate beautiful scenery and share wonderful living space, but also observe local life from different angles; and as multiple powers, they are together with local people in advancing the evolution of urban civilization. It is wise to learn how to listen to the voices of tourists and develop city into a new space with harmonious development of multiculturalism and common values.
Tourists are also the contributors and witnesses of urban quality tourism. Chinahas an old saying, “Ladies try to look good for those who love them, and gentlemen die for those who appreciate them.” If tourists really love a city, when exercising the right to tourism, they would respect to the civil servants, employees, and local people. If taking all things for granted, or even having a sense of arrogance, they may be probably indifferent to the best service and highest quality. We should abide by laws and regulations and respect local customs, appreciate others’ achievements, and forgive others whenever possible, so that we could feel the quality of tourism and become civilized tourists in the eyes of local people. Of course, city administrators, employees and local people should also try to create an atmosphere of friendly welcoming and a spaceof good life.
Dear Mayors, Ladies and Gentlemen,
In the era of sharing economy and all-for-one tourism, the developmentof urban quality tourismneeds the sense of sharing.
I’m oftenasked by medias or colleagues: “Which is your favorite city?” This question is hard to answer, because I have so many favorite cities, and it is difficult to say which one I prefer most. Today we are talking about “quality tourism”, and here, in front of dear Mayors, I would like to say which kind of cities that I like most.
I like cities with elegance, fashion, and vitality. Recently we knew about Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s royal wedding at Windsor Castle, in which every detail was artistic, and every shot attracted the attention from the world. From this wedding, we could strongly feel “the power of love”. I noticed that the wedding was held on May 19, a day before May 20 when many Chinese youths celebrated an unofficial lovers’ day just because this day sounds like “I love you” in Chinese. The wedding day was also accidentally identical to China tourism day. We know that city is a produce of civilization and a hub of cultural creation, communication, and transmission, as well as a space of good life which attracts tourists from other places. In fact, good life has become a new drive for quality tourism. I noticed that Zhengzhou held “Fashion Buyer Festival”, by which fashion was rhythmic with urban development. Henan University in Kaifeng promoted the slogan of “graduating studentstake photos with aerial photography, and youth has no gap”, by which youth was witnessed with technology and innovation. The chief leader of Xi’an City in person picked up cigarette butts on streets and cheered for the city with short video on Douyin app. These all were greatly extraordinary! We know that Zhengzhou, Kaifeng, and Xi’an are among the list of national famous historical and cultural cities in China. Yet it would be highly encouraging if they have some modern fashions and vitalities. We should know that both tourists and local people want not the prosperous memory but the tangible warm.
I like cities with commercial prosperity, humanistic feeling, and the warmest life reality. Tourism is a basic right of human being and a way of life in another place. Speaking life itself, people need eating, sleeping, going washroom, traveling, shopping, watching show, communication, and necessary assistance. In market economy, these needs are basically fulfilled with paid commodities or services, such as hotel, restaurant, café, taxi, shared bicycle, shopping mall, boutique, and beauty shop. Observing from the experience of international tourism development, we can see that good commercial environment and quality life from this environment are becoming the key factor of urban tourism competitiveness. In the era of sharing economy and smart tourism, cities with better urban commercial environments, or those as the international or regional centers of consumption, could attract more tourists, because they could ensure stronger feeling of experience and higher degree of satisfaction. It is advised that every Mayor could include business entities in the system of contemporary tourism development, be kind to investors, managers, entrepreneurs, and innovators. They may be famous business people from outside or local small business owners. They are all the active factors of urban tourism as well as the primary contributors of quality tourism.
I like cities with kindness, fairness, and inclusiveness. Let us think a couple of questions. The first is that whether we, as the city administrators, could provide the small tradespeople and peddlerswith a living space. At least, urban managers in law enforcement should have no physical conflict with them. Another question is that whether we could providestreet artists with the necessary space for artistic creation. At least, if a wall to be dismantled is found with any creative painting by street artists, for the sake of art, we should preserve the wall and the work for some time. The third question is that whether we have the appropriate respect to the “low class population”? At least, we should provide them with the necessary assistance while asking them to leave because of urban development. It is my belief that if a city could ensure the dignity of the homeless, it could also ensure the provision of quality services for incoming tourists.