1st World Conference on Tourism for Development opens this week in Beijing

PR No.: 16040

The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and the Government of the People’s Republic of China will host the First World Conference on Tourism for Development on 19 May. Under the theme ‘Tourism for Peace and Development’, the event is the first high-level meeting to address how tourism can contribute to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 universal goals. 


The conference is expected to bring together 1.000 public and private representatives from over 100 countries to discuss tourism’s role in advancing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), with a particular focus on tourism’s capacity to fight poverty and build peaceful societies.

“Tourism’s capacity to contribute to more sustainable societies is reflected in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development with the inclusion of tourism in three of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals - Goal 8 on economic growth and jobs; Goal 12 on sustainable production and consumption, and Goal 14 on marine conservation. Yet, tourism’s cross-cutting nature and multiplier effect on many other sectors positions it perfectly to advance all 17 Goals. This conference will be fundamental in engaging tourism leaders from around the world in this universal agenda,” said UNWTO Secretary-General Taleb Rifai.

“This conference is also a great example of our cooperation with the Government of the People’s Republic of China and reflects China’s commitment to make tourism a driver of inclusive development,” he added.   

The summit session, moderated by CNN’s Richard Quest, will discuss on how countries can align their tourism development with the SDGs, how the private sector can fully adopt the Goals and what national measures are critical to deliver on the Goals.

The Conference includes two other sessions: one on the role of tourism in poverty alleviation and the development agenda, and the second on tourism and peace.

Speakers include the United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, Wu Hongbo, representing UN Secretary-General, as well as Ministers and high-level tourism officials from Argentina, Bahrain, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Czech Republic, Ethiopia, Germany, Georgia, Indonesia, Iran, Jordan, Kenya, Lithuania, Malta, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mexico, Republic of Korea, Saudi Arabia, Slovenia, Sri Lanka, South Africa, UK, USA, Vanuatu and Zimbabwe.

Tourism representatives will be joined by Ambassador Dho Young-Shim, Member of the UN Sustainable Development Goals Advocacy Group, representatives of the World Bank, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JAICA), the World Tourism Cities Federation, the Petra National Trust Fund, the Beijing Municipality, the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, Guizhou and Yunnan Provinces.

Representing the private sector will be Shun-Tak Holdings, Kuoni Group, tuniu.com, the Beijing Tourism Group, the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), the Japan Association of Travel Agents, The Travel Corporation, the China National Travel Service (HK) Group Corporation and Ctrip.com. 

Additional information

- Programme of the Conference

- Tourism and the Sustainable Development Goals

- Tourism and Peace 

- Tourism and Poverty Alleviation


UNWTO Media Officer Rut Gomez Sobrino
Tel: (+34) 91 567 81 60 

UNWTO Communications & Publications Programme

Tel: (+34) 91 567 8100 / Fax: +34 91 567 8218