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A sold-out event, held by the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) in cooperation with the organizing committee of the China International Heritage Towns Exposition, launched the first PATA China Responsible Tourism Forum in Beijing on Dec. 16. The forum included more than 130 delegates from the country’s public and private sectors, as well as national and international experts in the field of responsible tourism. While the forum was held to stimulate debate between the tourism industry and government on the issue of responsible tourism, it was also meant to encourage social responsibility and the protection of China’s environment and heritage.
“Our long-term goal,” said Kate Chang, director of PATA’s China office, “is to help protect the heritage and culture of ancient towns and villages in China while, at the same time, carefully developing them to boost tourism and generate economic growth and employment for local communities.”
The first of many annual forums presented several case studies designed to revitalize abandoned or neglected villages, create new jobs through tourism and to preserve ancient heritage and customs.
Over the course of the year, PATA and its partners will be using social media and the Internet to improve and increase communication about the significance of responsible tourism for China’s heritage towns and villages.
The second annual China Responsible Tourism Forum will be held in April and will include the first Annual China Responsible Tourism Awards. The awards ceremony will recognize innovative and responsible tourism businesses in China. www.pata.org