China-Denmark Tourism Year Opens in Beijing
Beijing staged the grand opening ceremony of China-Denmark Tourism Year on the night of February 24. Chinese President Xi Jinping and Danish Prime Minister Lars L?kke Rasmussen sent their respective congratulatory message in writing, read out loud at the ceremony by CNTA chairman Li Jinzao and Danish Minister for Industry, Business and Financial Affairs Brian Mikkelsen, respectively. Other dignitaries at the ceremony included Danish Ambassador to China Mr. A. Carsten Damsgaard and CNTA vice chairman Du Jiang.
Xi's message reads, “I would like to, on behalf of the Chinese government and Chinese people, and in my own name, extend warmest congratulations to the launch of the China-Denmark Tourism Year and sincere gratitude towards those who have long contributed to the bilateral relations and people-to-people exchange between China and Denmark. China and Denmark enjoy long-standing friendship despite the great distance. China is mentioned in many works of the great Danish fairy tale writer Andersen, showing Danish people’s interest in and curiosity about China. Likewise, the Chinese people also find the fairy-tale land fascinating. I hope that the tourism year program would help enhance our friendship, deepen our cultural and people-to-people exchange and bring new life into our comprehensive strategic partnership.”
In his message, Danish PM Rasmussen noted, “In the past 67 years since we formed diplomatic relations with China, our diplomatic relations have carried on a great upward momentum. The tourism year program will add more glories to that and help solidify our comprehensive strategic partnership by enhancing our people-to-people exchange and mutual understanding at all levels. Our growing mutual visits reflect our solid, close partnership. We welcome more Chinese to visit Denmark.”
According to Li Jinzao, the congratulatory messages show how much state heads of both countries value the tourism year program and support efforts to strengthen people-to-people exchange and deepen pragmatic cooperation in all sectors. The Belt and Road Initiative proposed by President Xi has been warmly received by the international community. And Denmark is an important country in North Europe. Recent years have seen increasing tourism exchange between China and Denmark. In 2016, more than 210,000 tourists from China and Denmark visited the other’s country. This tourism year program is the first that China launched with a North European country. It provides a new platform for people-to-people exchange, creates opportunities for business cooperation, signals the deepening cultural exchange and injects new life into bilateral relations between the two countries.
According to Brian Mikkelsen, both countries have maintained frequent trade contacts and bilateral dialogues and their people visited the other’s country a lot. The upcoming years will see closer and deeper bilateral contacts and cooperation, and the tourism year program is a key step towards the goal. The program creates golden opportunities to showcase Danish culture, lifestyle, landscape and food to Chinese people and allows Danish people to experience in person the real China. In 2017, Denmark plans to host a series of cultural and tourism exchange activities to lure more Chinese visitors, especially promoting its exotic flavor and breathtaking natural landscape.
Later at the opening ceremony, Li and Mikkelsen signed the MoU on Mutual Support for Hosting Activities for the China-Denmark Tourism Year between the CNTA and the Danish Ministry of Industry, Business and Financial Affairs. Following that, a batch of business cooperation projects also inked contracts.
The Danish government threw a tourism promotion and reception dinner party after the opening ceremony. The dinner featured a wonderful and inviting speech by VisitDenmark CEO Jan Olson about attractions in the country and was brought to a climax by the song “Travel around the World” performed by special guest Tang Jun.
It’s said that in addition to opening and closing ceremonies, the Chinese side will organize tour operators to promote Tea Road tourism resources in Denmark and invite major Danish tour operators and press to visit China; the Danish side will launch a range of marketing activities, such as the China Day in Copenhagen, the Denmark Day in China, etc., and invite major travel agencies and press in China to visit Denmark. All these will add to the agenda of the tourism year program.
The opening ceremony gathered more than 300 guests representing CNTA, Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Danish Ministry of Industry, Business, Tourism and Financial Affairs, Danish embassy and consulates to China, and local tourism administrations, business insiders and media from both countries.
It’s learnt that since March 2003 when Denmark was made a destination for Chinese outbound group travels, the mutual visits between the two countries have been growing in number and tourism cooperation and exchange steadily progressing. In 2016, more than 210,000 tourists from China and Denmark visited the other’s country. The tourism year program this year is expected to boost the tourism market and create opportunities for the tourism industry in both countries.