“We should be brave like a hero to improve the mutual understanding of the two peoples and let tourism be the bridge of friendship and cooperation between China and Switzerland.” On May 13, the “China-Switzerland Tourism” Summit Event—President of the Swiss Confederation Ascending the Great Wall occurred at Mutianyu Great Wall. Doris Leuthard, President of the Swiss Confederation, and CNTA Chairman Li Jinzao attended and addressed the event. Accompanying them at the event and onto the Great Wall were spouse of the Swiss President Roland Hausin, Swiss Ambassador to China Jean-Jacques De Dardel, and Chinese Ambassador to Switzerland Geng Wenbing.
In her address, Leuthard said that she and President Xi Jinping jointly launched the China-Switzerland Tourism Year this January in Davos, Switzerland; that she was now in China, visiting the beautiful Great Wall to celebrate the success of the China-Switzerland Tourism Year. The tourism year is a major achievement of the long friendship and practical cooperation in all aspects between the two countries and it will bring about great potential for the further communication and cooperation between China and Switzerland. It will promote economic growth in both countries and drive up communication and cooperation of talents, thoughts, innovations, entrepreneurship, and culture, building mutual understanding and trust. Improving tourism cooperation will help the two countries realize the vision of a green future through inclusive and sustainable development. Switzerland is the home of winter sports and a major sustainable tourism destination in the world. It is willing to share its natural resources and its experience in coordinated economic and cultural development. To ensure concrete achievements of the China-Switzerland Tourism Year, Switzerland would like to join hands with China in the three core areas of sustainable tourism in mountainous areas, the hotel industry, and winter sports. In particular, it is perfect time for cooperation in winter sports. Beijing will host the 2022 Winter Olympic Games while Lausanne will host the 2020 Youth Olympic Winter Games. Cooperation in hosting Olympic Games will contribute to the success of the Games and promote lasting economic prosperity and development as well as people-to-people communication of the two countries. It is hoped that China and Switzerland will seize the opportunity of the China-Switzerland Tourism Year in all fields and on all levels to further strengthen communication and cooperation. More Chinese tourists are welcomed to Switzerland.
Li Jinzao said in his address that on January 17, during Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to Switzerland, he joined Swiss President Leuthard to launch the China-Switzerland Tourism Year at the foot of snowcapped mountains in Davos, starting a new page in tourism cooperation and enriching the strategic cooperation between the two countries under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative. The Chinese government attaches great importance to tourism development, issued a series of policies to promote it, and set tourism as the No. 1 industry for happiness. Currently, guided by the concept of holistic tourist destinations’ development, we are pushing for the transformation and upgrading of the tourism industry, ushering in the new era of mass tourism, and trying to meet the upgraded tourism consumption demand of the general public. Switzerland boasts abundant tourism resources and tourist attractions such as the grand Jungfrau, beautiful Interlaken, and picturesque Vierwaldst?ttersee are all favorite destinations of Chinese tourists. Switzerland is a widely acknowledged strong country in tourism, highly experienced in sustainable tourism development, tourism destination building, and hotel operation and management. China would like to join hands with Switzerland to take firmly the opportunity of the Belt and Road Initiative, make the best out of hosting the 2022 Winter Olympic Games, further build mechanisms for tourism cooperation, promote tourism facilitation, enhance tourism marketing efforts, deepen the practical cooperation in winter tourism, mountain tourism, and other fields, offering more benefits to people of both countries. We should be brave like a hero to improve the mutual understanding of the two peoples and let tourism be the bridge of friendship and cooperation between China and Switzerland.
After the ceremony, the two parties exchanged souvenirs, and Li Jinzao accompanied Leuthard to tour the Great Wall and took photos with Leuthard and her husband.
Also present at the event were officials from relevant departments of CNTA, the Chinese embassy in Switzerland, and Beijing Municipal Commission of Tourism Development, as well as representatives of the government of the Swiss Confederation, the Swiss embassy in China, and the Swiss Tourism Authority.
In recent years, China and Switzerland has reached a new level of political mutual trust, which attracted much attention. High-level exchanges have been frequent and good communication has been maintained over a series of important issues between the two countries, laying solid political foundation for the relations between the two sides. Between the two governments, the 20-plus dialogue and consultation mechanisms have been running smoothly and played crucial roles in strengthening mutual coordination and cooperation at all levels. Tourism and other cultural exchanges have been an important part of China-Switzerland cooperation. Since the Memorandum of Understanding was signed in 2004 for China and Switzerland to become recognized tourism destinations of each other, tourism cooperation between the two countries have seen steady progress. Currently, China National Tourism Administration has an office in Zurich and its Swiss counterpart has an office in Beijing. China has the become the fourth largest source of tourists in Switzerland send a record-high 1.36 visitors in 2015. A moderate estimation shows that there will be a 5% to 10% growth in 2017.
In 2017, under the framework of the China-Switzerland Tourism Year, the two countries will host a number of events such as 100 Swiss tourists visiting the Great Wall, 1,000 Chinese tourists visiting Switzerland, and China-Switzerland Hotel Management Seminar.
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