On 17 November, the EU and China celebrated the closing of the EU-China Tourism Year (ECTY) promoting mutual understanding, tourism links, and cultural exchange between the EU and China. The Closing Ceremony took place at the South Gate of Xi’an, China. The Closing Ceremony featured EU Youth Orchestra, a rendition of a traditional Chinese ceremony by Xi'an performers, and a display providing 3D mapping of European tourist destinations on the city walls.
The event was attended by a number of EU representatives, including Lowri Evans, Director-General at the European Commission, EU Ambassador Nicolas Chapuis and representatives of EU Member States. High-level representatives from the Chinese Ministry of Culture and Tourism and representatives from the Shaanxi and Xi'an municipal and provincial governments attended the ceremony. A roving exhibition "Experience Europe: Hidden Gems" and a Business-to-Business matchmaking event for tourism industry professionals were held in the margins of the ceremony at the Xi’an Crowne Plaza.
The EU-China Tourism Year 2018
On 12 July 2016, President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang announced that 2018 would be the EU-China Tourism Year. This initiative provides a unique opportunity to increase visitor flows and investments on both sides. It is also the occasion for European and Chinese citizens to better know and appreciate each other, contributing to the objectives of the EU-China High-Level People-to-People Dialogue. By joint efforts of the EU and China National Tourism Administration (CNTA), the ECTY aims to promote lesser-known destinations, improve travel and tourism experiences, provide opportunities to increase economic cooperation and create an incentive to make quick progress on EU-China visa facilitation and air connectivity.
This year, the European Union has carried out a range of activities to promote the development of both sides’ tourism industries, showcase the unique and diverse cultural heritage of the EU Member States, and support local authorities in organizing events bringing the European and Chinese communities together. These include the ECTY Opening Ceremony in Venice in January 2018, as well as the EU-China Lightbridge, when almost one hundred famous landmarks and tourist sites across Europe and China were illuminated in red and blue to build a symbolic bridge of light between the EU and China.
Ambassador of the European Union to China Nicolas Chapuis commented on the success of the ECTY, stating: “The ECTY has provided us with an excellent opportunity to build bridges between the European Union and China. Over 2018, we have witnessed Chinese audiences gain a more comprehensive and in-depth understanding of the European Union and its diverse Member States. I hope that this has been a great year for all and look forward to seeing more of our Chinese friends experiencing Europe in the future.”
In addition, over 150 initiatives took place during the EU-China Tourism Year programme, including High level institutional events, marketing campaigns in China funded through Public-Private Partnerships and 16,000 One to One meetings bringing together more than 900 European and close to 700 Chinese businesses. Numerous summits and conferences around specific topics, such as business tourism, maritime tourism, youth hostels, targeting various audiences took place.
These activities have proven successful in improving the understanding between European and Chinese citizens, encouraging more European and Chinese citizens to visit, discover, and appreciate each other’s countries, cultures and traditions, and stimulating new business and investment opportunities between the two countries.
The EU-China Tourism Year closing ceremony is funded by the EU’s Partnership Instrument, which enables the EU to advance its strategic interests, shape global change and promote its fundamental values. Through the Partnership Instrument, the EU cooperates with partners around the world to address global challenges and find joint solutions to issues of mutual interest. The PI funds activities that carry forward the EU's priorities, translating political commitments into concrete measures.
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