Sharing China with the World: Visitors from 26 Countries Discuss Culture and Tourism in 5000-Year-Old Ancient Capital

On October 23rd, the 2019 World Culture and Tourism Forum (WCTF) opened in the Chan-Ba Ecological District, Xi’an, this year surrounding the theme of “Intelligent Integration of Culture and Tourism”. Co-hosted by the Xi’an Municipal People’s Government and Ctrip Group, WCTF is a forum for the discussion of issues related to inbound tourism, destination marketing and technology, shared accommodation, as well as the culture and tourism industries.

In the forum, Guanghua Fang, Vice Governor of the People’s Government of Shaanxi Province, said, “With the implementation of the 144-Hour Visa Free Transit Policy at Xi’an Xianyang International Airport, inbound tourism in Xi’an will enter a new stage. Moving forward, Xi’an will work to enrich cultural tourism offerings in the city, to give our guests a more authentic and memorable experience.” 

Mingyuan Li, Mayor of Xi’an Municipal People’s Government said, “Many international tourists aren’t aware that there are pandas in Shaanxi too. The famous Japanese onsen (hot spring) tradition, too, in fact spread to Japan during the Tang Dynasty. We hope that WCTF will see the strengthening of mutual ties, and further integration of culture and tourism.”

James Liang, Co-founder and Chairman of the Board of Ctrip Group said, “Historically, Chang’an was once the most open city. Xi’an has a rich history and various unique attractions, and Ctrip will share these travel routes with the world. Xi’an should become a pioneer in inbound tourism, bringing prosperity to the city, and to China.”

Ctrip annually leads 35m tourists to visit Xi’an and enjoy “5,000-year-old ancient capital’s beauty”

In recent years, Xi’an has promoted “Culture +” and “Tourism +” strategies surrounding its rich historical, cultural and natural resources. Xi’an has also implemented the National Great Archaeological Sites Protection Project, Imperial City Revival Plan and the Culture and Tourism Industries Multiplication Plan, while striving to develop its identity as the ‘Capital of the Silk Road’, and a favorite tourist destination internationally. In 2018, the whole city saw over 247 million visits from domestic and international tourists, and a net tourism income of RMB 255.48 billion, with the added value of tourism accounting for 8.74% of GDP. During the 2019 National Day holidays, Xi’an welcomed 17.37 million visitors producing an income of RMB 15.19 billion, ranking among the most among popular destinations for FIT tourism in China during the period.

Since the initiation of a strategic co-operation in tourism between Ctrip and Xi’an, 35.02 million Xi’an-related tourist products were consumed on Ctrip’s platform in 2018. Between January and September 2019, this number increased to 36.1 million. Ctrip is facilitating the tourism in Xi’an with offerings including high-speed rail tourism, homestays, and physical stores. In Ctrip’s content marketing sector “Travel Snap”, Xi’an landmarks such as Emperor Qinshihuang’s Mausoleum Site Museum, Xi’an City Wall and Shaanxi History Museum attracted a viewership of between 10,000-20,000 people.

Earnestly perfecting inbound tourism to show the beauty of Xi’an to the world

Ancient Chang’an once was once representative of the culture of the Tang Dynasty in its most glorious days. The ancient city Chang’an attracted many merchants from the West Asia and Europe. Xi’an is now faced with both opportunities and challenges in the inbound tourism sector.

During the forum on inbound tourism, “how to build quality inbound tourism products” was a key topic. The White Paper on China’s Inbound Tourism Enterprises Alliance, as well as inbound tourism routes in Shaanxi & Xi’an were also announced on the day. Additionally, multiple Sino-Japan and Sino-South Korea Memorandums of Understanding on the promotion of inbound tourism were signed. Over the next three days, topics to be discussed include: Overseas Marketing for Chinese Destinations, How Does Shared Accommodation Contribute to the Growth of the Economy of International Cities Popular on the Internet, as well as Building Quality Inbound Tourism Products with Comprehensive Overseas Marketing Strategies.

A series of events are being held as part of WCTF 2019, includingthe “Night of Xi’an” — Promotion Conference for Cultural Tourism, the Opening Ceremony of the 2019 WCTF, Forum on Internationalized Development of Tourism in Xi’an, a Theme Forum on Inbound Tourism Development and Signing Ceremonies for Co-operation, Theme Forums on Intelligence-Driven Destination Marketing Strategy, on Contributions of Shared Accommodation to the Global Economy, and on Development of Culture and Tourism, Yo-Yo Ma — The Bach Project in Xi’an Concert, the Ctrip Gorgeous Autumn in China — Beautiful Xi’an Autumn Tourism Festival, and the Xi’an Simple Life Festival.

Almost 1,000 participants will attend the main events of WCTF held between October 22 to 25, including more than 100 international guests from 26 countries and regions, as well as over 200 representatives of domestic industries and enterprises, and a total of over 3,000 visitors across the entire forum.

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