Tourism year to bring China, EU closer

Inauguration of the EU-China Tourism Year (ECTY) 2018. Photo Courtesy: Elzbieta Bienkowska

The EU-China Tourism Year (ECTY) 2018 is officially launched from the Doge’s Palace in Venice, Italy on January 19, 2018. Qi Xuchun, Vice Chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, and Elzbieta Bienkowska, European Commissioner for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, launched the official opening of 2018 EU-China Tourism Year. Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker sent congratulatory messages to the opening ceremony of the China-European Union (EU) Tourism Year

“Today, China and Europe are making efforts to develop partnerships of peace, growth, reform and civilization, and to comprehensively implement the China-EU 2020 Strategic Agenda for Cooperation. The two sides are also working jointly to dock the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative with Europe’s development strategy, adding that bilateral relations are now enjoying new development opportunities. Tourism is not only an important bridge to conduct civilization exchanges and promote people-to-people friendship, but also an emerging industry to boost economic growth, Li noted, saying China and Europe are rich in tourism resources and have a broad prospect for cooperation,” Li said in his message.

President Juncker and Prime Minister Li unveiling the tourism year logo. Photo Courtesy: EU-China Tourism Year

Li expressed the hope that the two sides will take the China-EU Tourism Year as an opportunity to actively expand cooperation in tourism and personnel exchanges, promote a dialogue between civilizations and people-to-people bonds, and push forward common development and the mutually beneficial and win-win situation to inject fresh momentum into the China-EU comprehensive strategic partnership in a new era.

All 28 EU member states are participating at the 2018 EU-China Tourism Year, which will see a long list of high-profile awareness-raising events being staged throughout the year, including the EU-China Light Bridge project when landmarks around the EU will be illuminated in red, the main colour of the Chinese national flag while their Chinese counterparts will shine in the blue of the EU flag.

The dignitaries at the launch event. Photo Courtesy: Elzbieta Bienkowska

“A new four times weekly direct Dublin – Hong Kong flight by Cathay Pacific starts in June,” said Brendan Griffin, who represented Ireland in the opening ceremony on his facebook. After launching the first EU – China Tourism Business Summit, Elzbieta Bienkowska, European Commissioner for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, said, “We hope for an increase of 10 per cent visitors from China in the EU above the current trend. This would mean at least €1 billion a year for the EU economy. We are organising eight business-to-business matchmaking events taking place during major travel fairs in the EU and China.”