Twenty islands are selected as favorite tour destinations for Chinese tourists in 2015 during the 2015 International Islands Tourism Conference. [Photo by Yan Yiqi/chinadaily.com.cn]
China, which sends the most visitors to foreign islands, is looking for opportunities to expand such tourism within the country, authorities said today at the 2015 International Islands Tourism Conference in Zhoushan, Zhejiang province.
The conference, which is the first of its kind, gathered delegations of tourism authorities and industry representatives from 25 island countries and regions to discuss cooperation and the sustainable development of island tourism.
A report focusing on the development of global island tourism said China is the largest outbound island tourism market in the world. In 2014, 24 million Chinese tourists traveled to foreign islands. The number is expected to exceed 30 million this year.
China is emphasizing the development of its marine economy, and island tourism will be one important part of the strategy, said Li Shihong, deputy director of StateNational Tourism Administration.
“Island tourism is the golden field under marine economy as a whole. While we are attaching great importance to its sustainable development, we are keen to communicate with other countries and regions,” Li said.
China is still developing island tourism, so successful experiences from foreign islands are essential, he said.
“We are lucky that there are plenty of experiences we can learn from in our development of islands tourism, and I hope this conference will be served as a platform for us to establish cooperation relationships,” Li said.
Tourism ministers from six countries and mayors from 22 island cities attended the conference and expressed their willingness to work with Chinese cities.
Rudy Salles, deputy mayor of Nice, France, said he was pleased to have an opportunity to meet with counterparts from other countries and regions and discuss potential cooperation.
“I believe that island tourism, as a part of culture exchange, will be an excellent bridge to link people from different countries,” he said. “As Nice has been working with Zhejiang province for many years, I am looking forward to further projects.”
Activities at the two-day conference include a forum for sharing experiences, a promotional fair of tourism products and roundtable meeting of mayors of island cities.