China-Fiji tourism symposium kicks off in Fiji

The two-day China-Fiji tourism symposium kicked off on Friday in Nadi, Fiji, with the participation of government officials and representatives of the tourism industry from the two countries.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, Li Yaying, chief of the delegation from China’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism, said that this year marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China. Over the past 70 years, especially since the reform and opening up around 40 years ago, China’s tourism industry has made considerable progress.

In 2018, some 50,000 Chinese tourists visited Fiji, she said, adding that “building on the positive momentum of the tourism year, we are ready to work with the Fijian government and tourism industry to further unlock the potential of cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative, promote mutual visits, and enhance the understanding and friendship between our two peoples.”

Chinese Ambassador to Fiji Qian Bo said that both China and Fiji are famous for a unique culture, friendly environment and a wide range of natural resources. It is a good opportunity for the Chinese and Fijian people to exchange ideas on tourism industry and develop win-win projects.

“Tourism exchange and cooperation will further the understanding and friendship between the people of two counties. I hope Chinese and Fijian people will join hands and work together for a brighter future,” he said.

Deng Xianfu, director of China Cultural Center in Fiji, said that the symposium is another important event of the 2019 tourism year between China and Pacific island countries. It is aimed at furthering the sustainable development of tourism cooperation between China and Fiji, as well as seeking opportunities for Fiji to become a promising tourism market for Chinese visitors.

Echoing the Chinese guests’ views, Chris Cocker, CEO of the South Pacific Tourism Organization, Alison Burchell, permanent secretary for Fiji’s Ministry of Education, Heritage and Arts, stressed the importance of Chinese tourists for the sustainable development of tourism industry in the world, with the South Pacific region in particular.

The symposium plays a pivotal role in enhancing communication and connectivity between their respective countries and regions, they said, adding that the South Pacific region, including Fiji, warmly welcomes Chinese tourists to experience the unique culture and beautiful landscapes in the region.

2019 was declared as the China-Pacific island countries tourism year.