Global tourism is a key factor in boosting economic development across the world, China’s premier Li Keqiang said at the First World Conference on Tourism for Development in Beijing.

Together with fighting poverty and building peace, he emphasized tourism’s capacity to “stimulate economic growth, create jobs and foster inclusive development”.

“The global economy is lacking in growing momentum and needs a new driving force. As one of the fastest-growing and most resilient industrial sectors, tourism plays an important role in boosting world economic recovery,” he said.

Opening the conference, Premier Li Keqiang underlined the role of tourism in lifting people out of poverty and the importance of stepping up international cooperation in tourism.

He was echoed by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who said in a message: “When tourism is well-managed, it has tremendous capacity to create decent jobs, provide opportunities for inclusion and education, and contribute to preserving cultural heritage and the environment.”

The summit session, moderated by CNN’s Richard Quest, participants called for an integrated approach by countries, including effective resource management and the role of the private sector.

The conference, organized jointly by the UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWHO) and China, and which gathered more than 1,000 participants, was held from May 18–21 under the theme of ‘Tourism for Peace and Development’.

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