TRAVEL ENHANCES MUTUAL RESPECT AND UNDERSTANDING
Since the Chinese New Year, also called Spring Festival, symbolizes new beginnings, it offers a chance to reflect on past and future opportunities. Wenting Yang, director of the China National Tourist Office, sees the coming year as an exciting time for tourism co-operation and cultural exchange between Canada and China. “We believe 2018 will be a great year for tourism for both countries,” she says.
Recent numbers confirm an upward trend in tourism exchange. In 2017, about 750,000 Canadian visitors travelled to China, and 620,000 Chinese visitors came to Canada. Along with popular demand, airlines have increased the number of non-stop flights to China. Vancouver alone is now connected to 13 Chinese cities via direct flights.
“As a country with a long history of thousands of years, China’s culture and civilization are very different from the West and from Canada, which in itself promises a rewarding experience for visitors,” says Yang. “At the same time, China is a safe country for travelling, and people are very friendly and welcoming.”
Many Canadians have heard about some of the main attractions, like the Great Wall of China and Emperor Qin’s terra-cotta warriors, but the country has much more to offer, she adds. “Every kind of landscape that you can imagine, you find in China, from desert to sea, rivers and mountains, villages and mega-cities.”
“As of 2017, China has 52 UNESCO World Heritage sites (more than any other country except Italy), which include 36 cultural heritage sites, 12 natural heritage sites and four mixed cultural and natural heritage sites,” says Yang. Visitors can choose from attractions such as palaces on mountaintops, giant panda sanctuaries and traditional heritage villages.
The wide variety of cultural experiences and inexhaustible list of sights entice visitors to return again and again, always able to discover something new, says Yang. “While China has a very long history – it is at the same time very modern and developed.”
China is also Canada’s secondlargest single-nation trading partner, and both countries acknowledge the role of tourism not only in driving economic development but also in connecting people and furthering respect and friendship. “In September 2016, our governments officially named 2018 the Canada-China Year of Tourism with the intention to create closer ties between our two states and citizens,” says Yang.
Wenting Yang, director of the China National Tourist Office, envisions a lively tourism exchange between Canada and China in 2018.