China´s New Landmark Tourism Strategy: The Outline for National Tourism and Leisure (2013-2020)
China has embarked on a new era in tourism in its national agenda following the release of The Outline for National Tourism and Leisure (2013-2020), a landmark document which will see the complete redefinition of tourism development and management in the country, spark an increase in Chinese outbound tourism and promote a greater distribution of the economic, socio-cultural and environmental benefits of tourism.
The document, issued by the State Council of China, the country´s highest level of government, presents a roadmap for restructuring the current paid leave system across China and outlines the technical, multi-sector aspects of creating a more fruitful environment for sustainable tourism development and management in the country.
Where previously cultural norms have stopped many workers in China from taking annual leave, this outline, in enforcing the Regulations for Paid Annual Leave for Employees, not only encourages governmental agencies, social organizations, enterprises and public institutions to promote the use of leave days, but also gives Chinese workers more freedom and flexibility of where and when to travel.
The outline, which China National Tourism Administration (CNTA) has been advocating for a long time, was developed on the basis of The Opinions of the State Council on Speeding up the Development of the Tourism Industry (Guofa, 2009, No.41) to meet, as it says, ¨the people´s growing needs in tourism and leisure, [as well as to] promote the healthy development of the tourism and leisure industry, and build a Chinese-style national tourism and leisure system.¨
Its release comes four years after the tourism sector in China was acknowledged as a ´pillar´ industry of modern services, recognizing its role as one of the major social and economic industries on the government´s agenda.
The outline´s focus on promoting the taking of paid annual leave days and boosting the healthy development of the tourism and leisure industry in China is strongly aligned with UNWTO´s historical document, the Tourism Bill of Rights, released in 1985 as well as the UNWTO’s Global Code of Ethics for Tourism, adopted by the United Nations in 2001.
The successful implementation of the outline will lead to not only another boost in Chinese inbound tourism (especially through an increase in domestic holidays), but also, significantly, an increase in Chinese outbound tourism around the world.