Remarks by H. E. Amb. Zhang Yan at "Know More of China-China Happy & Healthy Tour 2012"

H. E. Mr. Zhu Shanzhong, Vice Chairman of China National Tourism Administration,

H.E. Mr. Anand Kumar, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Tourism,

Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

I feel very happy and honored to attend this grand gathering to launch "Know More of China-China Happy & Healthy Tour 2012" in India. Today's event is one of the major activities planned for the "Year of China-India Friendship and Cooperation". First of all, I would like to express warm welcome to Mr. Zhu Shanzhong, Vice Chairman of China National Tourism Administration and his delegation, who have traveled purposely to India for the road show of Chinese cultural tourism. I would also like to express my sincere thanks to Mr. Anand Kumar, Joint Secretary of Ministry of Tourism, dignitaries from the Indian government and all Indian friends present. Your gracious presence has demonstrated the importance you have attached to the cooperation in tourism between our two countries.

China and India, as two close neighbors, enjoy long-standing good relationship in the history characterized by friendly exchanges, mutual influence and mutual inspiration. Over the past 2,000 years or more, the two countries learned from and influenced by each other. China owes its Buddhism culture to India and India draws inspirations from Chinese products like tea, porcelain and silk. The exchanges have deeply enriched our respective culture and become an unfailing driving force for evolution of two great civilizations.

In recent years, China-India relations have witnessed an all round development and acquired new strategic dimension. In the domain of tourism, bilateral cooperation has been expanding rapidly. China and India are two ancient civilizations and blessed with abundant tourism resources characterized by beautiful landscape, rich histories, colorful cultures and friendly and hospitable people. Two countries have made each other the tourist destination. Today, over 40 direct flights shuttle between China and India every week. Last year, more than 6 lakh of Indians visited China. Whereas the number of Chinese first-stop visits to India has reached 1.3 lakh, increasing by more than 20% over 2010. Tourism cooperation has become a very important part of our bilateral relations and played a crucial role in promoting understanding, friendship and mutual trust between two countries and two peoples.

However, in view of the huge population, the fast growing economy and vibrant tourist market of two countries, the current level of our cooperation in tourism is still far from satisfactory. In another words, there still exists great potential in the field of tourism for two countries to tap. China will make great efforts to increase bilateral cooperation and make tourism cooperation a new highlight in our fast expanding relations. For that purpose, China National Tourism Administration wish to further enhance bilateral exchange and collaboration between the tourism communities of two countries with an aim to further explore the flourishing India tourist market.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

China Happy & Healthy Tour was kicked off at the beginning of 2012, serving as a platform for friends from other countries to gain a holistic picture about China. Today's event hosted by China National Tourism Administration and Chinese Embassy at the DLF Promenade is part of the world-wide program. It will not only showcase the colorful culture and rich tourism resources in different parts of China, such as Sichuan, Shanghai, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Guangdong, Henan, Anhui, Hainan, Shaanxi, Chongqing, Qinghai, just to name a few, but also serve as a golden opportunity for tourism communities of two countries to interact with each other, explore the respective tourism markets and look for partners of cooperation. In this regard, I am glad to see that among the delegation headed by Vice Chairman Zhu, there are several officials and personals in charge of tourism from Chinese provinces and cities. I hope they will actively engage with their Indian counterparts and achieve good results.

Finally, I sincerely wish Mr. Zhu Shanzhong, Vice Chairman of China National Tourism Administration have a fruitful visit to India, and wish this event a complete success.

Thank you.

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