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President Xi Jinping’s Address at the Opening Ceremony of "Tourism Year of China” in Russia (fulltext)

2015-09-14 CNTAIC Font Size:[ L M S ]
Moscow, March 22 (Xinhua) President Xi Jinping addressed the Opening Ceremony of the Tourism Year of China in Russia on 22nd. The full text of the address is as follows:
Honorable President Putin, ladies and gentlemen, dear friends,
At this beautiful season of early spring, we are here officially inaugurating the Tourism Year of China in Russia. We all have a beautiful wish that the Tourism Year of China in Russia will prosper just like the splendid flowers in spring.
First, on behalf of the Chinese government and the Chinese people, and in my own name, I’d like to extend my heartfelt thanks to the Russian government and the Russian people, and to those who have supported and assisted in the organization of the Tourism Year of China in Russia.
China and Russia share long borders, and are good neighbors, good partners and good friends. “Loving people and treating neighbors kindly are most valuable to a country.” And I myself and President Putin have decided that we will focus on expanding practical cooperation in various fields in the future development of bilateral relations so as to provide an important driving force for the improvement of the living standard and life quality of the peoples of both countries.  
Tourism is a bridge between civilizations and cultures, and it enhances friendship between peoples; it is also an important measurement of people’s living standards. Outbound tourism is one thing that the general public aspires. Tourism is a comprehensive industry, and is an important driving force for economic development. Tourism is a way to nurture one’s body and mind. Since ancient times, Chinese people have been seeking the combination of traveling and reading, and they embrace the idea that “reading one-thousand books, and travel one-thousand miles.”
As a large country in tourism, Russia is famous for its ancient civilization and brilliant culture have, and its ever-changing modern outlook has attracted the attention of the world. The picturesque scenery of the Volga River, the Ural Mountains, and Lake Baikal is renowned throughout the world, and the unique charm of cities like Moscow, St. Petersburg, Ekaterinburg and Sochi is highly appealing to tourists. As I recall, last year, China filmed a 100-episode TV documentary entitled “Hello, Russia”, showing the beautiful natural scenery and colorful folk customs of all the ethnic groups in Russia. Last year, after the successful holding of “Tourism Year of Russia” in China, Chinese tourists to Russia increased by 46%, and the total number of visitors between the two countries reached 3.3 million. China has become the second largest source of tourists for Russia, and Russia the third largest source of tourists for China.
As an ancient civilization with a history of more than 5,000 years, and a vibrant large oriental country, China is favourably endowed with rich tourism resources. More than 40 of its scenic spots have been recognized as world cultural and natural heritage. China has profound traditional cultures, such as Chinese calligraphy and paintings, Beijing Opera, and traditional Chinese medicine, and spectacular natural and humanistic landscapes, such as the sublime and splendid mountains, the grand and magnificent Great Wall, the unique Terra-Cotta Warriors, the renowned Shaolin Temple, as well as the sunny tropical beaches. China has become the third largest country for inbound and outbound tourism in the world. I hope that both sides will take advantage of the “Tourism Year” to foster tourism cooperation into a new highlight in China-Russia strategic cooperation.
Tourism is the best way to enhance intimacy between people. I hear that on July 19, 2012, 1,100 Chinese tourists went to Russia to participate in a tourism exchange event themed “Hello, Russia”. They gathered at Cosmos Hotel Concert Hall, and watched a wonderful performance staged by Russian artists. When the familiar melody of “Moscow Suburban Night” was on, both Chinese and Russian audience began to sing to it. The occasion revived their cherished memories. From late September to early October 2012, at the invitation of Beijing Municipal Government, 50 Russian families came to Beijing to participate in a folk custom exchange program, and were accommodated at some local homes. Chinese host families have expressed their strong wishes to host Russian families, and those families that have not got the opportunity have expressed deep regret. These Chinese and Russian families lived together just like kinsfolk, and have developed profound friendship. In the end, they were unwilling to part from each other. I believe they will cherish at heart forever the unforgettable experience.
Ladies and gentlemen,
“It is a great delight to have friends coming from afar.” Chinese people are dedicated to building a beautiful China. And the theme of the performance at the opening ceremony tonight is “Beautiful China”. On behalf of the hospitable Chinese people, I would like to invite my Russian friends to come to China, to appreciate the natural scenery, to experience Chinese culture, and to foster friendship between the Chinese and the Russian peoples.