Representatives attending the opening ceremony were taking group photos
The 8th United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Global Summit on Urban Tourism was held in Nur-Sultan, the capital of Kazakhstan, from October 9th to the 12th, 2019. The summit was co-sponsored by the UNWTO and the Mayor's Office of Nur-Sultan, with the theme "Smart Cities, Smart Destinations". The summit emphasized the significance of smart cities in boosting socio-economic development, employment, infrastructural construction, technological innovation and sustainable use of resources. Additionally, it focused on how to develop smart cities, as well as the complex problems and challenges in the process of development.
The high-level roundtable
The summit consisted of an opening ceremony, a high-level roundtable, keynote speeches, a sub-forum and so on. High-level representatives from 80 cities including 10 mayors, vice mayors, ministers, and 20 senior city representatives attended the summit. The Prime Minister Askar Uzakbaiuly Mamin of Kazakhstan, the mayor Altai Kulginov of Nur-Sultan, and the Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili of UNWTO addressed the opening ceremony. The Nur-Sultan Declaration on 'Smart cities, smart destinations' was issued at the summit.
Yan Han, Deputy Secretary-General of the WTCF, attended the summit
Yan Han, Deputy Secretary-General of the WTCF, attended the summit and delivered a speech at the high-level roundtable. Themed with 'Smart Cities and Tourism', the roundtable focused on sharing views on transforming cities into smart destinations. Yan Han stressed that the fundamental purpose of developing smart tourism cities is to harmonize the tourism experience of urban residents and tourists alike, providing convenient, efficient, smart and humanized services for both sides. Therefore, attractive cities should conduct in-depth research, establish specialized agencies, strengthen infrastructure such as transportation, internet, wireless communication, and strive to reduce barriers between residents and tourists. Cities should also actively adopt advanced technologies such as big data, artificial intelligence, and create tourism products that contribute to the sustainable development and accessibility of cities. At the same time, Yan Han shared with the participants the key contents of the Global Report on Smart Tourism in Cities, which was written by the WTCF.
After the roundtable discussion, Yan Han presented the Global Report on Smart Tourism in Cities to the Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili of the UNWTO. They had a further discussion on smart cities and the achievements of the WTCF Helsinki Fragrant Hills Tourism Summit 2019. Zurab congratulated the WTCF Helsinki Summit on its success and expressed regret for not being able to attend the summit in person. Zurab expressed that he would attend the Beijing Fragrant Hills Tourism Summit in 2020.
He Shengkang, consultant of the WTCF, attended the sub-forum
At the sub-forum, He Shengkang, consultant of the WTCF, participated in the discussion themed 'Making the best of technology in building competitive urban destinations'. In terms of technological innovation and development in the smart tourism cities, He Shengkang stressed that smart tourism has abundant content. The application of new technologies and the innovation of artificial intelligence will be a huge project with great challenges and broad prospects.
Since 2012, the UNWTO Global Summits on Urban Tourism has been successfully held for eight sessions in Istanbul, Moscow, Barcelona, Marrakech, Luxor, Kuala Lumpur, Seoul and Nur-Sultan. The WTCF has been invited to attend the summit many times to share the experience of tourism cities' development. Through participating in this summit, the first initiative of the cooperation memorandum signed by the WTCF and the UNWTO has been implemented.
The Global Report on Smart Tourism in Cities is a key academic report independently conducted by the WTCF. It was officially released at the WTCF Helsinki Fragrant Hills Tourism Summit 2019. The report evaluates 37 member cities' level of smart tourism development through questionnaires, and summarizes how those cities use advanced technologies to enhance their level of smart tourism development through case analysis.
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