The Third Sichuan International Tourism Trade Fair, themed “Tourism Trade & Open Cooperation — Facilitating the Prosperity of the Silk Road Economic Belt”, opened on September 23 in Emeishan, a town in Leshan, Sichuan Province .
World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) executive director Zhu Shanzhong, Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) chairman Andrew Jones and World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) chairman Gerald Lawless were invited to the event.
In addition, China National Tourism Administration deputy director Wei Hongtao, Sichuan provincial Party committee secretary Wang Dongming and Sichuan provincial Party committee publicity department minister Gan Lin were also in attendance. National Political Consultative Conference vice chairman Liu Xiaofeng announced the opening of the fair.
Exhibitors, sellers and 165 buyers came from 47 countries and regions on five continents to participate in the event. In a move to build a trading platform where negotiations concerning tourism products and services can take place, as well as platforms where guests and tour operators can meet with the aim of engaging in discussions leading to collaborations, or where tourism industry exhibitions and promotions can be displayed, the fair rolled out eight main events including the Asia Pacific Tour Operators Conference, the Emei Summit Forum, Promotion Week for Theme Cities of Host Countries, as well as two supporting events: the 2016 International Mount Emei Mountain-climbing Festival and the Mount Emei Buddhist Temple Music Festival.
The 66,000 m² exhibition and trade fair, which was sub-divided into four major areas — Trade & Negotiation, Exhibition & Promotion, Tourism Products and Outdoors Experiences — included exhibition pavilions focusing on several themes, among them, the “One Road and One Belt ” initiative to promote commerce and travel along the ancient Silk Road trade routes, mountain trekking and “Travel +” (promoting the leveraging of online platforms to stimulate the travel business), among other topics.
At the Asia Pacific Tour Operators Conference and the Emei Summit Forum, more than 200 renowned industry experts and academics from both China and abroad discussed the best path for the development of tourism across the whole of Sichuan province. With PATA as a powerful and influential partner, the creation of a new support organization was announced at the fair: the China-ASEAN Center, a collective bringing together the officials of tourism administrations of 10 ASEAN members and top management executives from 10 leading tour operators, with one of the goals, the promotion of tourism to the province of Sichuan .
During this year’s fair, 24 tourism projects with an aggregate value of RMB44.74 billion ( USD6.7 billion ) were signed, and 80 deals between buyers and sellers from both inside and outside of China were successfully closed during the One-on-One Trade session. In addition, several one-on-one tourism trade cooperation framework agreements were signed.