Bei­jing dis­plays charms in DC ex­hi­bi­tion

China Daily (USA) - - ACROSS AMERICA - By DONG LESHUO in Wash­ing­ton leshuodong@chi­nadai­lyusa.com Yuan Yuan in Wash­ing­ton con­trib­uted to the story.

It’s harder for your guest to be­come your en­emy.”

Yu Ning, min­is­ter coun­selor at the Chi­nese em­bassy

Charm­ing Bei­jing, a four-day photo ex­hi­bi­tion dis­play­ing some 100 photos of the city’s tourist at­trac­tions, opened Tues­day at Union Sta­tion in Wash­ing­ton.

The show, which fea­tures six dis­tinc­tive themes of the an­cient cap­i­tal city, is be­ing pre­sented by the Bei­jing Mu­nic­i­pal Com­mis­sion of Tourism Devel­op­ment (BMCTD) to cel­e­brate the 2016 China-US Tourism Year and the Bei­jing-DC sis­ter city re­la­tion­ship, which was es­tab­lished in 1984 and re­newed in 2015 dur­ing the first China mis­sion for Mayor Muriel Bowser of the Dis­trict of Columbia.

“A record 273 mil­lion peo­ple vis­ited Bei­jing in 2015,” said Wang Yue, vice-chair­woman of BMCTD, “bring­ing an es­ti­mated $68.7 bil­lion in rev­enue and 7.6 per­cent growth from the year be­fore. Among the fastest-grow­ing groups of tourists (are) from the US, who ac­counted for 694,100 vis­i­tors last year.”

“Bei­jing’s out­bound tourists to the US have also in­creased sig­nif­i­cantly from 185,000 in 2014 to 260,000 in 2015, a 40.2 per­cent growth,” Wang said.

“Many of them have had the op­por­tu­nity to visit the beau­ti­ful Wash­ing­ton DC, a sis­ter city of Bei­jing, and our strong­est global part­ner in tourism devel­op­ment.”

Ac­cord­ing to sta­tis­tics re­leased by the Na­tional Travel and Tourism Of­fice and the US De­part­ment of Com­merce, an es­ti­mated 2 mil­lion Amer­i­cans have vis­ited China an­nu­ally in re­cent years.

In 2015, 2.5 mil­lion Chi­nese trav­eled to the US, a 20 per­cent in­crease over the pre­vi­ous year, and spent $24 bil­lion trav­el­ing to US cities, na­tional parks and other des­ti­na­tions.

“China re­mains our num­ber one in­bound over­seas mar­ket, which is fan­tas­tic,” said Theresa Belpulsi, vice-pres­i­dent of Tourism and Visi­tor Ser­vices at Des­ti­na­tion DC. “We just reached an all-time high, over 300,000 Chi­nese vis­i­tors com­ing to Wash­ing­ton DC, and what’s even more fan­tas­tic is that this is a 36 per­cent in­crease over last year.

“This is the fifth year in a row that DC (had) dou­ble-digit in­creases from China,” Belpulsi added. “This is ab­so­lutely be­cause of the won­der­ful re­la­tion­ship that we formed (with) China.

“One out of ev­ery nine Chi­nese vis­i­tors that come to the US comes to Wash­ing­ton DC,” she said. “Now we have two flights com­ing from Bei­jing, so any­one else who wants to bring in an­other flight, we are more than happy to wel­come it to Wash­ing­ton DC to keep this num­ber grow­ing.”

A boom­ing tourism mar­ket also brings trade op­por­tu­ni­ties.

“In 2012, the Dis­trict of Columbia opened an in­ter­na­tional trade of­fice in Shang­hai, and we also opened our sec­ond in­ter­na­tional trade of­fice in 2014 in Bei­jing,” said Karima Woods, di­rec­tor of the Eco­nomic Devel­op­ment and Strat­egy Of­fice of the Deputy Mayor for Plan­ning and Eco­nomic Devel­op­ment.

“As the re­sult of open­ing these two of­fices, we’ve been able to take a num­ber of DC’s busi­nesses in ad­di­tion to col­leges and uni­ver­si­ties on trade mis­sions to China,” Woods said.

“Tourism has be­come in­creas­ingly im­por­tant in the econ­omy,” said Yu Ning, min­is­ter coun­selor at the Chi­nese em­bassy in Wash­ing­ton. “And be­sides its eco­nomic func­tions, it con­nects two cul­tures.”

Glob­al­iza­tion in­cludes not only cap­i­tal flows but also per­son­nel flows.

“It’s harder for your guest to be­come your en­emy,” Yu said.

YUAN YUAN / FOR CHINA DAILY

From left: Wang Rui, of­fi­cer of brand­ing and mar­ket­ing at the Bei­jing Mu­nic­i­pal Com­mis­sion of Tourism Devel­op­ment (BMCTD); Li Xiangy­ing, deputy dis­trict mayor of the Shunyi Dis­trict Gov­ern­ment; Karima Woods, di­rec­tor of Eco­nomic Devel­op­ment and Strat­egy at the Of­fice of the Deputy Mayor for Plan­ning and Eco­nomic Devel­op­ment of Wash­ing­ton; Theresa Belpulsi, vi­cepres­i­dent of tourism and visi­tor ser­vices at Des­ti­na­tion DC; Yu Ning, min­is­ter coun­selor at the Chi­nese em­bassy; Wang Yue, vice-chair­woman of BMCTD; and Lu Chuan, di­rec­tor of brand­ing and mar­ket­ing at BMCTD, at the un­veil­ing cer­e­mony of the Charm­ingBei­jing photo ex­hi­bi­tion at Union Sta­tion in Wash­ing­ton on Tues­day.

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