China-EU Tourism Year to promote business and mutual ties: Ambassador - OPINIONS - Humanrights

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China-EU Tourism Year to promote business and mutual ties: Ambassador
January 19,2018   By:Xinhua
Jan. 19, 2018 -- The upcoming China-EU Tourism Year will not only promote the industry, but also boost mutual understanding and overall ties between the two sides, Ambassador Zhang Ming, head of the Chinese Mission to the European Union (EU), said in an interview.
 
The Tourism Year, jointly declared by China and the EU, will see its official launch on Friday in Venice, Italy.
 
INDUSTRY GAINING MOMENTUM
 
Europe is the third largest destination for Chinese citizens traveling abroad, Zhang said, citing statistics that the number of Chinese citizens visiting the EU countries in 2016 was nearly 3.5 million. That brings about 11.49 billion U.S. dollars to Europe. Meanwhile, the number of EU citizens going to China was over 3.1 million, yielding an estimated 14.17 billion U.S. dollars to China.
 
And the tourism is still gaining momentum, according to the ambassador. "What is most impressive is that the number of Chinese citizens traveling to Europe has been rapidly rising in recent years, increasing by 65 percent in the first half of 2017," said Zhang.
 
The momentum is not simply reflected in numbers but also in dimensions. "Chinese tourists not only stick to classic destinations such as Italy and France, but also are going to emerging markets in Central and Eastern Europe. For example, with the help of a TV series, the number of Chinese tourists in Croatia increased tenfold last year."
 
As an industry involving many businesses, tourism plays a unique role in promoting growth, increasing employment and boosting consumption, Zhang said.
 
PEOPLES GETTING CLOSER
 
In the eyes of the Chinese senior diplomat, the Tourism Year is not only an occasion to promote the industry, but also an opportunity to enhance mutual understanding and cognition between the two peoples.
 
"A good tour is not just about landscapes, foods or souveniers, but more about exploring a new world, which has different customs, culture, lifestyle and thinkings. These experiences are good to both the travelers and the relations between the countries they come from and to," said Zhang.
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