EDITORIAL: Memberships

COTRI becomes a member of WTA and director Prof. Arlt becomes a member of the WTCF Expert Committee

by Christopher Ledsham, M.A.

Over the past week, COTRI China Outbound Tourism Research Institute has been awarded membership of the WTA World Tourism Alliance at its 2018 Annual Meeting in Hangzhou, while COTRI’s director Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Georg Arlt has been officially welcomed as a member of the WTCF World Tourism Cities Federation Expert Committee at an event held in Qingdao.

Gathering for the first time since its inaugural session in September 2017 in Chengdu, the WTA held a four-day event in the Zhejiang provincial capital where it will build its future headquarters on the Xianghu lake.

In addition to announcing a number of new members – bringing its total to 165 in less than one year of existence – representing a wide range of industries in 34 countries across all five continents, the programme hosted the Xianghu Dialogue event, which included presentations from prominent figures such as: Vice Minister of the Chinese Ministry of Culture and Tourism Li Jinzao, President of the China Tourism Academy Dai Bin and Vice President of Ctrip Xi Weihang.

Operating as a non-government, non-profit international tourism organisation, the WTA brings together members from across fields including: national tourism associations, academia, tourism businesses, media and international politics as a way to promote the topics of peace, development and poverty reduction.

The WTCF – which is similarly based in China – has amassed a total of 200 members during its six-year existence, (including around 120 cities) and following its initial period of expansion, is now focusing its energy on creating a high-quality level of work output.

Although not officially stated, the focus of the WTCF’s membership is clearly both inbound and outbound Chinese tourism, meaning that its work will likely develop in a way that sees it orientating itself towards both Chinese tourism on one hand and global city tourism development of the other.

To date, the WTCF has already produced a number of high-quality publications as well as regional meetings and training sessions, though it hopes to move towards offering increasingly concrete practical services to members. Accordingly, having already reached a level of relevance and acceptance, it is well-placed to forge closer partnerships with other major global tourism organisations.

The recent Qingdao event saw Prof. Arlt become a member of the WTCF’s 35-strong expert committee, reflecting an acknowledgement of the work done by COTRI.

In addition to these two new honours, COTRI also claims Affiliate Membership of the UNWTO, membership of the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) and the European Tourism Association (ETOA) and Knowledge Partner status of the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC). Accordingly, COTRI can proudly state that it is actively engaged with all major global and relevant regional (Asia-Pacific and European) organisations in the global tourism field.

Fun fact: Founded by Germans in 1903, the producers of China’s Tsingtao (Qingdao) beer has joined many global brewers in diversifying their output in light of the growing craft beer trend. Newer offerings include its “pure draft” beer – brewed strictly to the German Reinheitsgebot production laws – as well as a new high-quality stout. While the brewery did produce a dark porter in the 1990’s, this was stopped due to a lack of available small bottles (at a time when cans were not available). As the brewery’s flagship lager became increasingly well-known internationally, the brewery began to focus instead on the production of this more mainstream beer, sold in 0.7 litre bottles.

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