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China-US tourism exchange gets a boost

By Zhang Ruinan in New York | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2017-10-15 14:42

The "2017 Beautiful China-Journey along the World Heritage" promotional event kicked off on Thursday in New York, opening a window for the US and world to China's world heritage sites and promoting cooperation between the China and US travel industry.

Hosted by the China National Tourism Administration, a delegation from tourism bureaus of 18 provinces and municipalities in China exhibited popular tourist sites, as well as China's world heritage sites to participants.

"With a huge tourist market in place, China and the US enjoy great complementarity in tourist resources, a solid foundation for cooperation and great prospects for future development," said Wang Xiaofeng, vice-chairman of China National Tourism Administration, at the event.

Wang said last year, the two-way flow of visitors between China and the US exceeded 5 million. Each year, about 2 million Americans travel to China. And China remains the world's biggest tourist source market and fourth most visited destination.

"With the successful hosting of 2016 China-US Tourism Year, China-US tourism exchange has maintained sound momentum," said Wang. "The increasingly closer tourism exchanges between China and the US have enhanced the people-to-people bonds, built up our friendship and brought tangible benefits."

Wang said tourism is the most basic and the most effective area in state-to-state relations.

"Tourism is a very important part of the China and US relationship," said Zhang Qiyue, consulate general of China in New York. "Tourism and travel businesses are an industry, but it's really an industry of people, for the people and by the people as well, so the people-to-people exchange is the strong cornerstone for any state-to-state relationship."

"Since the beginning of this year, China-US relations have retained a positive momentum," Zhang added. "President Xi and President Trump have already met twice this year, and President Trump is going to China next month."

Zhang also mentioned that China and the US have set up four-dialogue mechanisms, one of which is called social and people-to-people dialogue, which was launched earlier and concluded on the Sept 28.

Tourism is one of more than 130 outcomes concluded in the China-US Social and People-to-People Dialogue.

"We have an opportunity and the obligation to expose US citizens to China and Chinese citizens to America because that single-handedly can change the fabric of this world," said Terry Dale, president of the US Tour Operators Association.

"By sharing our cultures, by providing greater understanding between our people, that's where peace happens."

Besides the 52 UNESCO natural and cultural heritage sites in China, Chinese traditional paper cutting and calligraphy demonstrations and ribbon dancing, as well as Chinese opera performances, were also presented to participants.

The event was the largest travel promotion event between China and US this year, Wang said. "By hosting this event, we hope to introduce China's world heritage sites to American tourists and provide an opportunity to deepen China-US tourism cooperation."

The next stop for the delegation is San Francisco.


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