The Outline for National Tourism and Leisure (2013-2020), recently issued by the government of China, sets the ground for the redefinition of tourism development and management in the country, including a strong support for outbound tourism as well as a focus on a greater distribution of the economic, socio-cultural and environmental benefits of tourism, according to the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).

Issued by the State Council of China, the outline focuses on promoting the taking of paid annual leave days and boosting the development of the tourism sector in China, in particular by ensuring the coordination of different sectors.

The UNWTO said in a statement that where previously cultural norms have stopped many in China from taking an annual leave, the outline, which reinforces existing regulations for paid annual leave for employees, encourages government agencies, social organizations, enterprises and public institutions to promote the use of leave days, giving Chinese workers more freedom and flexibility on the issue of where and when to travel.

“The successful implementation of the new Chinese national tourism strategy will surely impulse both domestic and outbound tourism in China and we particularly welcome the decision to promote traveling at different times of the year” said UNWTO Secretary-General Taleb Rifai.

“This document calls on a variety of sectors to strategically consider their actions in view of the development of tourism; it is another proof that China fully understands that sustainable tourism growth requires cross-cutting policies at a national level”, he added.

The outline, advocated for a long time by the China National Tourism Administration (CNTA), comes four years after the tourism sector in China was acknowledged as a “pillar” industry of modern services and one of the major social and economic sectors on the government´s agenda.