On February 24, the World Tourism Alliance staged a ceremony to inaugurate its headquarters building in Xianghu, Hangzhou. At the ceremony, Hu Heping, Minister of Culture and Tourism of China, Wang Hao, Governor of Zhejiang Province, Zurab Pololikashvili, Secretary-General of the United Nations World Tourism Organization, WTA Chairman Zhang Xu and his predecessor Duan Qiang, and the special ambassador of the UNWTO Dr. Istvan Ujhelyi pulled the rope together, setting the “giant vessel” of the WTA to sail, announcing the official opening of the WTA headquarters building. Liu Jie, a member of the Standing Committee of Zhejiang Provincial Party Committee and Party Secretary of Hangzhou, attended the ceremony and delivered a speech.
The WTA is a global, comprehensive, non-governmental and non-profit international organization initiated by China, and officially founded in September 2017. In December 2017, the Alliance signed a strategic cooperation document with the Zhejiang government, announcing the decision to settle its headquarters in Hangzhou. The construction officially started in Xiaoshan District of the city on March 23, 2019. To date, the Alliance has 228 members from 42 countries and regions. Over the past five years, it has made use of favorable conditions at home, stayed committed to the vision of the development of mankind, and promoted poverty reduction through tourism by building an international exchange and cooperation platform, holding brand events and conducting industry research. It is emerging as a world-recognized tourism organization. The WTA headquarters is located by the picturesque Xianghu Lake, known as the “sister lake” of West Lake. Its opening marked a milestone in promoting high-quality tourism development, and it will bear witness to the Alliance’s contribution to the sustainable development of global tourism.
Chairman Zhang Xu said that, the headquarters was important for an international organization just as “home” was to all of us, and it was a haven and the cornerstone of long-term development. After more than three years of intensive construction, the Alliance headquarters is finally completed, the result of hard work of planners and builders. It also carries ardent expectations of domestic and foreign members and business insiders. Its inauguration marks not only a milestone in the history of the Alliance, but also a new starting point for global tourism industry to move forward. It carries the common aspiration of business insiders to actively participate in global governance and promote international coordination, exchange and cooperation.
Mr. Liu Jie extended warm congratulations on the official opening of the WTA headquarters. He said that the launch of the headquarters of the Alliance, the highest-level international organization in Hangzhou, marked a milestone of Hangzhou connecting with the world and embarking on a new journey in the new era of building a global tourist destination. He believed that via this platform, Hangzhou would surely build up the city’s brand as “A Paradise on Earth,” and become the most influential international tourist and leisure destination.
The launching ceremony attracted an audience of about 350 representatives, including departmental heads of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, local senior officials of Xiaoshan district, Hangzhou and Zhejiang, foreign envoys in China, heads of foreign tourism offices in China, representatives of WTA members, and other guests and journalists from at home and abroad.
As an important part of the WTA headquarters project, the World Tourism Museum has been under construction for more than three years, and entered the final sprint stage. It is also located by Xianghu Lake, and positioned as a world-class tourism-themed museum, the first comprehensive tourism-themed museum in the world. The whole island is designed as an eco-friendly landscape park. In the future, it will display the world tourism culture in all respects with rich contents, in novel forms and by advanced means, and preserve and pass down the memory of tourism development, and the happiness and joy brought by tourism in different times.