CHENGDU, Sept. 13 (Xinhua) -- Chinese President Xi Jinping sent a congratulatory message to the 22nd General Assembly of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), which opened Wednesday, saying he hoped for greater development of global tourism.
"The UNWTO plays a positive role in advancing global tourism development and strengthening international cooperation on tourism," the president said. "We hope all nations take the opportunity of this meeting and work together to push for greater development of global tourism."
He called tourism a significant channel of communication between different countries and cultures, an effective tool of creating economic growth and jobs, and an important industry to improve people's lives.
China highly values tourism, which has contributed over 10 percent of its national economy and employment, according to Xi.
Xi estimated that Chinese tourists will make 700 million outbound trips in the coming five years.
"The country also warmly welcomes inbound tourists, with its long history, rich culture, beautiful scenery and diverse folk customs," Xi said.
The meeting, scheduled for Sept. 11-16 in Chengdu, capital of southwest China's Sichuan Province, gathered senior tourism officials and senior representatives worldwide to discuss how tourism can contribute to UN Sustainable Development Goals.