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China Tourism Forum 2019-USA opened in Philadelphia

On July 22nd, China Tourism Forum 2019-USA opened in Philadelphia. This forum is held jointly by the School of Sport, Tourism and Hospitality Management at Temple University and the School of Hotel and Tourism Management(SHTM) at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University(PolyU). Consul General Huang Ping, Mayor of Philadelphia Jim Kenney, President of Temple University Richard M. Englert, Dean and Chair Professor of SHTM at Poly U Kaye Chon attended the opening ceremony and delivered speeches. Governor of Pennsylvania Tom Wolf sent a congratulation letter. Over a hundred guests from the Chinese and the US tourism industry and academia attended this forum.

Huang Ping congratulated on the opening of the forum. He also thanked people who have long been worked on pushing China-US tourism exchanges and cooperation as well as those who actively promoted China-US friendship. He said that 2019 marked the 70th anniversary of the founding of PRC. China has made eye-catching achievements since then, especially after the Chinese economic reform. The revenue of China's residents keeps increasing and the consumption structure upgrades continuously. China's middle-class population has already reached 400 million. Traveling abroad is no longer a privilege, but a normal consumption for ordinary people. In 2018, tourists from Mainland China made nearly 150 million outbound visits. The constant advancement of China's economy has provided not only a steady-growing tourist group but also an impetus to the development of world tourism.

According to Huang Ping, this year is the 40th anniversary of the establishment of China-US diplomatic relations. Over the past 40 years, China-US relation has witnessed steady development, and the bilateral personnel exchanges have become increasingly closer. In 2017, more than 5 million tourists from China or the US visit the other country. Three million Chinese travelers visited the US in 2018. Last year, Chinese tourists spent $36.4 billion in the United States. As foreign visitors who created the highest consumption in the US, Chinese tourists injected nearly $100 million per day into the US. Huang Ping said that although the China-US relationship is currently facing difficulties and challenges, he firmly believed that the common interests and cooperation between the two sides far outweigh the differences and frictions. The steady and sustained advancement of China-US relations lies in mutual understanding and trust. Travel is the most direct and natural way for people-to-people communication, through which they can deepen understanding, reduce prejudice, enhance understanding and promote friendship. At the G20 summit this June, the presidents of China and the US reached an important consensus on pushing forward the China-U.S. relationship featuring coordination, cooperation, and stability, sent a positive signal to the world. Striving to develop the tourism industry is a concrete measure to implement the consensus between the two presidents. Huang Ping said that both China and the US are major tourism countries and there is huge potential for tourism cooperation between the two countries. It is hoped that the tourism industries of the two countries will continue to strengthen cultural and tourism exchanges, further expand practical cooperation and achieve mutual benefit and win-win results.

In his speech, Mayor Kenney highly evaluated the importance of the evolving tourism cooperation between China and the US, which promotes the economic development of the two countries and enhancing the friendship between the people of two nations.He said that this year marks the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and the US. In 1979, Philadelphia turned into the sister city of Tianjin, became the first US city that officially twinned with a Chinese one. Over the past 4 decades, the relationship between Philadelphia and China developed in various fields. Philadelphia is also the first "world heritage city" in the United States. Currently, China is the second-largest overseas market for Philadelphia's tourism, and Mandarin is the third most-spoken language in Philadelphia. He hoped to continue strengthening exchanges and cooperation as well as deepening friendship with China.

Englert, President of Temple University, reviewed the history between Temple University and China and looked forward to furthering exchanges and cooperation with Chinese universities on education. He hoped Temple University could take advantage of its resources to further study the development of tourism industries of China and the US, promoting personnel exchanges between the two countries. In his congratulatory letter, Governor of Pennsylvania Tom Wolf said that China Tourism Forum 2019-USA will contribute to the prosperity of Pennsylvania's tourism industry as well as international exchanges and cooperation.

President of U.S. Travel Association Roger J. Dow, Chairman of China UnionPay Ge Huayong, etc., delivered keynote speeches about Chinese tourists' contribution to the US economy and the future potential of China's tourism market. Fred Dixon, President & CEO of NYC & Company, and Ernest Wooden Jr., the President, and CEO of the Los Angeles Tourism and Convention Board, etc., also participate in the discussion.

China Tourism Forum was launched by SHTM at Poly U in 2004, aiming to promote tourism development in China. After 12-times successfully held in China, the forum was held in the United States for the first time this year.

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