The World Tourism Alliance, which China proposed, was set up on September 11 during the 22nd General Assembly of the United Nations World Tourism Organization in Chengdu, Sichuan Province. It marks China's rise in the world tourism industry.
The WTA's headquarters and secretariat are located in Beijing. So far, the organization has attracted 89 members from 29 countries and regions, including China, the United States, France, Germany, Japan, Australia, Malaysia and Brazil.
The objective of the WTA is to promote development and peace through tourism, and relieve poverty through tourism, to strengthen exchanges of global tourism, and to push forward the inclusive and sustainable development of the global tourism industry.
Experts say the WTA expands international tourism cooperation channel while giving China greater rights to a say in the world tourism sector.
Li Jinzao, head of China National Tourism Administration, said the establishment of the WTA builds a new platform for international cooperation, and creates new space for the Chinese tourism industry.
UNWTO Secretary-General Taleb Rifai spoke highly of China's status in the world tourism sector as well as China's contribution to the world tourism industry.
"China has provided a good example for the world - it prioritizes the development of tourism, tapping into the tourism industry's potential in poverty alleviation and rural development, and I hope China's model of tourism development and China's measures to solve some problems are of reference value to the tourist destinations," Rifai said.
UNWTO predicts China will become the largest tourist destination for overseas travelers in the near future. Rifai hopes China can lead a fast and sustainable development of the tourism industry.