Tourism instrumental in post-earthquake recovery in Sichuan, China

PR No.: PR11039

Tourism has played a major role in the economic recovery of the Chinese province of Sichuan in the three years following the 2008 earthquake. Its vital contribution to local growth and employment was recognized by all attending the recent Sichuan International Cultural and Tourism Festival (Chengdu, Sichuan, 18-22 April).

“Sichuan’s rich natural and cultural heritage makes it one of the most popular tourism destinations in China,” said UNWTO Executive Director, Zoltan Somogyi, addressing the event. “The devastating earthquake of 2008 impacted hard on the sector, but thanks to the work of the Chinese Government, surrounding provinces and international assistance, tourism has been a strong driver of the economic recovery in the province”.  

The Festival, co-organized by the China National Tourism Administration (CNTA) and the Sichuan Provincial People’s Government, highlighted how tourism has been essential in the reconstruction of the province. Some villages were left as they were following the earthquake and now serve as memorials for domestic and international visitors, while other villages previously dependent on agriculture have embraced tourism as a sustainable option for economic growth, job creation and development. Sichuan province received 271 million visits in 2010, a 24% increase over 2009, and 188.6 billion yuan in tourism receipts, a 28% increase over 2009. 

Since 2008, UNWTO has been supporting Sichuan to maximize tourism’s contribution to the post-earthquake recovery. UNWTO and the China National Tourism Administration (CNTA) held a joint conference on the Revitalization of Tourism and Confronting Crisis in the province capital of Chengdu in 2008. The conference allowed countries which had suffered similar disasters to exchange experiences, ideas and best practices in crisis management.

The 2011 Sichuan International Cultural and Tourism Festivalwas attended by participants from over 60 countries and regions from all five continents and included technical visits to the worst hit areas within Sichuan and an international forum on Post-earthquake Tourism Recovery, Reconstruction, Development and Revitalization.


Principal Media Officer: Marcelo Risi

Tel: (+34) 91 567 81 60

UNWTO Communications Programme

Tel: +34 91-567-8100

Fax: +34 91 567 8210

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