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Tourism serves as bridge for advancement of US-China exchanges: WTA vice chairman

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Tourism serves as bridge for advancement of US-China exchanges: WTA vice chairman

2024-05-24 11:37 Last Updated At:14:57

Tourism plays a crucial role in fostering mutual understanding and cooperation between China and the United States, said the World Tourism Alliance (WTA) vice chairman while attending the 14th China-U.S. Tourism Leadership Summit.

Nearly 200 participants attended the event held in Xi'an City in northwest China's Shaanxi Province on Wednesday, including government officials from the U.S. Department of Commerce, representatives from local tourism authorities, and executives from leading travel agencies. The forum reconvened after a five-year hiatus since the last edition, following the positive momentum established during U.S. Secretary of State Blinken's visit to China in April.

Adam Burke, president of the Los Angeles Tourism Convention Board, also the vice chairman of the WTA, discussed achievements of the summit and ties between China and the U.S. in an interview with China Global Television Network (CGTN).

By promoting cultural exchange and economic collaboration, tourism is helping both nations move forward together despite broader tensions in other fields, Burke said.

"Despite some of the challenges politically between the U.S. and China, tourism has always been the bridge. The people-to-people and cultural exchanges has been a way to find common ground, going all the way back to the 1970s with the Nixon administration. The second thing is to really understand, what are the pain points. What are the things that may be inhibiting recovery both ways? I think that's one of the reasons why these types of dialogues are so important," he said.

Burke also expounded upon the latest trends in the tourism industry, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic.

"There's been a shift in consumer sentiment. I think this was a foundational change because of the pandemic. If you look back prior to the pandemic, travel was often viewed as a discretionary purchase. What we've seen around the world is that most consumers have moved it out of the discretionary category into an essential purchase. So, I think it's not about travel intent. I think, first of all, we're hard-wired to want to explore the world around us. One of the things I found fascinating, there were actually psychological studies done that showed that not being able to travel is actually creating depression, and even thinking about planning a trip elevated mood. So there's something really, deeply embedded in our humanity about the need to travel," said the WTA vice chairman.

Noting that WTA member organizations help address poverty alleviation, sustainability and climate change, Burke Burke underscored the power of tourism to empower communities.

The summit also saw the announcement of three groups of China-U.S. tourism partner cities, along with the achievements of a series of agreements in city-to-city cooperation, trade, and cultural exchanges. Burke emphasized the importance of these developments by noting the special relationship between Los Angeles and Guangzhou that was built 43 years ago, marking one of the first sister-city relationships between major cities of China and the United States not long after the two countries established diplomatic ties.

"I think the biggest thing is recognized that for over 60 years, Los Angeles and Guangzhou have had a sister city relationship. Chinese Americans first settled in Los Angeles in the 1850s. We're talking about two centuries worth of history between our peoples. Part of the reason I'm so optimistic about the future is we've been through challenging times before, but it's through the power of tourism and these types of conversations and dialogue that we always find a common path forward," he said.

Tourism serves as bridge for advancement of US-China exchanges: WTA vice chairman

Tourism serves as bridge for advancement of US-China exchanges: WTA vice chairman

Tourism serves as bridge for advancement of US-China exchanges: WTA vice chairman

Tourism serves as bridge for advancement of US-China exchanges: WTA vice chairman

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Rescue, relief operations underway as seasonal floods hit parts of China

2024-06-20 23:19 Last Updated At:06-21 00:17

Rescue and relief operations are underway to mitigate the impact of seasonal flooding across China.

South China's Guangdong Province has mobilized emergency forces to the hardest-hit areas, such as Pingyuan County and Jiaoling County in the province's Meizhou City, where clearance and repair works on flood-damaged roads are underway.

The provincial emergency aviation rescue center also dispatched helicopters to rescue trapped or injured people and deliver generators, food, drinking water and other supplies to flooded villages.

Wuping County, another hard-hit area in east China's Fujian Province, also dispatched emergency management and transportation teams, who rushed to the scene in speedboats and rubber boats carrying life jackets and other rescue equipment and supplies.

The county also mobilized nearly 300 excavators, forklifts and other machinery to assist in the evacuation of more than 68,000 people.

Water levels in some sections of three of the four major rivers in central China's Hunan Province, the Xiangjiang, Zijiang and Yuanjiang Rivers, have risen by three to 7.5 meters due to continuous rainfall, causing floods in surrounding areas.

Faced with flooding, neighboring areas have taken strict preventive measures, and more than 23,000 residents have been evacuated.

Rainfall also lashed east China's Anhui Province, with torrential rain hitting the province's Huangshan City, causing floods and trapping many rural residents.

Nearly 900 emergency rescue teams in the city are currently carrying out rescue and disaster relief operations while transferring affected people to safe locations.

Many rivers in south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region also saw rivers exceeding flood alert levels, causing flooding in the region's Guilin City. Emergency responders have evacuated stranded people, and helped get traffic flowing again in urban area as the floods recede.

East China's Jiangxi Province is also closely monitoring key zones such as mountainous areas, reservoirs, and rivers to provide real-time disaster warnings, stepping up efforts to identify risks and hidden dangers.

China's State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters on Thursday initiated a Level-IV emergency response in Anhui and Hubei and Chongqong Municipality.

China has a four-tier flood-control emergency-response system, with Level I being the most severe response.

The Ministry of Emergency Management also urgently allocated 30,000 pieces of central disaster relief supplies to Guangxi in coordination with relevant departments.

The Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Water Resources said on Wednesday that it had allocated central fiscal water conservancy disaster relief funds of 916 million yuan (126.16 million U.S. dollars).

Guangdong, Fujian and Guangxi will get 499 million yuan from the total to support flood disaster relief and flood prevention works, with a focus on providing subsidies for the repair of damaged water infrastructure.

Rescue, relief operations underway as seasonal floods hit parts of China

Rescue, relief operations underway as seasonal floods hit parts of China

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