In his guest post for Transforming One Planet Vision into Action, Mr. Dai Bin, President of China Tourism Academy shares his reflections on working towards a responsible recovery from COVID-19 for the tourism sector.
In China, the efforts to build back better the tourism sector which aim at connecting its future competitiveness with sustainability and resilience are very much related to technology.
Modern technology represented by digitalization is profoundly changing consumption behavior, decision-making mechanism and satisfaction evaluation of Chinese tourists. In order to adapt to the people's new expectations for beautiful scenery and a better life after the establishment of a moderately prosperous society in all respects, the Chinese government and tourism industry have been devoted to the construction of smart tourism.
Destination development agencies transform more potential resources into projects, products and services. Besides, the agencies effectively improve service quality and industrial competitiveness. The engagement of more Internet, mobile communications, artificial intelligence and digital enterprises has further enhanced the vitality and boost the momentum of the tourism industry.
From the lines of action mentioned in the One Planet Vision, public health is of great significance and very important for immediate implementation. Tourism is not only a yearning for beautiful scenery and cultural heritage in other places, it also requires the support of social environment, commercial environment and lifestyle. If public health fails to meet the requirement, tourists will reduce their willingness to travel. They will not be able to consume with confidence even when they arrive at the destinations, which will ultimately affect the sustainable development of tourism. "One Planet" invites the tourism industry to create synergies with public health. Our common goal is to build a "green, civilized, orderly, and inclusive" society.
During the COVID-19 epidemic, the Chinese government promoted a travel pattern including making appointments, peak load shifting, travel flow restriction, and orderly organization. Besides, the government issued epidemic prevention and control guidelines and public health standards covering every stage and detail of tourism and travel. These documents are not only focusing on tourists, but also require cultural and tourism institutions such as tourism attractions, hotels, travel agencies, museums, cinemas to comply. These guidelines and standards will be constantly updated according to the evolution of the situation.
In connection to the line of action in the One Planet Vision which focuses on circular economy, in terms of catering, the government advocated the small size meals, encouraged the clean-up plate campaign, and set reminders to inform people do not waste any food or ingredients.
Lastly, in connection with the line of action in the One Planet Vision which focuses on climate action, the fast-developing and increasingly perfect high-speed rail network is profoundly changing the pattern of China's tourism development. Destination cities, natural and cultural heritages located remotely that need take a long time to arrive in the past can be reached in a short time at present. Coupled with the modernization of communication technology and payment system, a trip without plan has become a more prevalent travel style for young people. The high-speed railways are still under construction, and the fare is planning to be lowered with the purpose of benefiting more people. High-speed railways will become a crucial driving force for the high-quality development of China's tourism industry and an important guarantee for national tourism rights, even more importantly in the current context when domestic tourism is playing a crucial role for the recovery of the tourism industry.
These elements will certainly play an increasingly important role in the future.