Mega Events Key to Strengthening Friendship
Mega events were at the top of the agenda today as ´old friends´ Shanghai Institute of Tourism (SIT) and UNWTO discussed future cooperation during a meeting at UNWTO Headquarters in Madrid.
Mega events, a tourism phenomenon of growing importance worldwide, especially in the current climate of creative economies, already dot the landscape of Shanghai´s tourism offering. Following the success of the Shanghai World Expo in 2010, the Shanghai Tourism Festival in September and the China International Travel Mart in October are assuming top positions in the city´s event calendar for 2012.
Today´s meeting marked the continuation of the good relationship between UNWTO and SIT, China´s first UNWTO Affiliate Member. Cooperation between the two organizations has existed since the university institute first joined UNWTO over 17 years ago, and this year looks set to see even more SIT involvement in UNWTO activities.
¨We are always very proud to declare our affiliate membership of UNWTO, ¨ said Mr. Yang Weiwu, President of SIT. ¨We have received a lot of support from UNWTO in recent years and we would like to give something back.¨
Immediate plans discussed at today´s meeting included SIT´s active participation in the organization of an international conference on tourism and mega events, expected to be held in Shanghai this September. Further to this, UNWTO proposed a combined research project in the area of mega events and tourism in the Asia Pacific Region, with the intention of looking at mega events and their impact on both the local tourism industry and on society more broadly, using the conference in Shanghai as a starting point.
The visit of SIT follows the signing of a Letter of Intent between UNWTO and Shanghai Municipal Government just one week ago, at which the city of Shanghai committed to increased collaboration with UNWTO, including in, among other things, the field of mega events.
During today´s meeting, UNWTO also encouraged SIT to get involved in UNWTO´s Affiliate Member network, Platma, as well as the UNWTO Knowledge Network. The idea of implementing UNWTO/Shanghai scholarships in SIT for tourism ministry officials was also discussed.