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Festival to boost tourism along Maritime Silk Road kicks off
   2016-11-13 20:20:01    CRIENGLISH.com      Web Editor: Fei Fei

The Second Maritime Silk Road International Tourism Festival kicks off in Fuzhou, capital of South China's Fujian Province on Nov. 13, 2016. [Photo: CRIENGLISH.com/Shi Jie]

A proposal that aims to boost tourism cooperation between some Chinese and overseas cities along the ancient Maritime Silk Road has been agreed on during meetings in Fuzhou on Sunday.

Our reporter Xie Cheng has more details from that city in southeastern China.


The song you are listening now is called "Silk Road." It is the theme song of the "The Second 'Maritime Silk Road' International Tourism Festival," which kicked off in the capital Fujian province on Sunday.

The 21st Century Maritime Silk Road is part of the Belt and Road Initiative, proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013, which also includes the Silk Road Economic Belt.

It aspires to build a trade and infrastructure network connecting Asia with Europe and Africa along the ancient Silk Road routes.

Huang Qiyu, vice governor of Fujian, says Fuzhou as the hub of the Maritime Silk Road has unique advantages in connecting China and countries along the route.

"We hope the Festival can be used as a platform to connect tourism from both China and abroad, so as to jointly carry forward the culture of Maritime Silk Road, expand exchanges and cooperation, and build the "Maritime Silk Road" into a road of mutual benefit and win-win cooperation."

To echo his words, representatives from the tourism administrations of nine Chinese cities and nine oversea organizations along the Maritime Silk Road have jointly signed a proposal known as the "9+9 International Tourism City Cooperation Association." The new regional platform will explore new tourism cooperation modes and means for cities along the Maritime Silk Road.

Mohammad Mousa is a tourism representative from UAE who signed the proposal at the ceremony. He says China's Maritime Silk Road strategy will create a win-win situation for both countries.

"Actually, this is an amazing thing! You know we call it as a support between the two sides. We choose to come to China. We need Chinese people. As now also for Chinese people, go UAE, no need visa, just booking tickets and go right away ."

The UAE government has granted visa-free travel to Chinese passport holders since Nov. 1. In 2015, 450,000 Chinese visitors came to the UAE, up 29 percent year on year. This growth represented the highest increase among all nationalities visiting the Gulf Arab state.

Also attending the event are representatives from Greece, another major tourism destination which aims big to attract more Chinese tourists.

Maria Zisouli is a tourism strategy consultant from Greece.

"Already in Greece, there are many small institutes that speak about Chinese, many Children begun to speak Chinese, so we have now to working this strategy to have more Chinese. Now we have about around 2 million (Chinese tourists), but we need to be bigger, around 3, 5 million Chinese tourists to be in Greece."

This year's Maritime Silk Road International Tourism Festival has attracted more than 1000 industry insiders as well as domestic and oversea media representatives.

Various activities will be held during the festival, including an international tourism carnival, a tour guide competition, a hot spring international tourism festival, and a tourism souvenir creative design competition.

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