Remarks by H.E.Amb. Zhang Yan at the Launching Ceremony of China Happy & Healthy Tour 2012
（From Chinese Embassy in Indian）
(New Delhi, February 25th , 2012)
H. E. Mr. Wang Zhifa, Vice Chairman of National Tourism Administration of China,
H.E. Mr. Sanjay Kothari, Additional Secretary of Ministry of Tourism of India,
Distinguished guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am very delighted to attend this launching ceremony of China Happy & Healthy Tour 2012. First of all, I would like to express warm welcome to Mr. Wang Zhifa, Vice Chairman of National Tourism Administration of China and his delegation to visit India for this purpose. I also wish to express sincere thanks to Mr. Sanjay Kothari, Additional Secretary of Ministry of Tourism, dignitaries from the Indian government and friends from tourism industry of India and other countries. Your gracious presence has reaffirmed your long-standing support to the cooperation between China and India in tourism.
Ladies and gentlemen,
As you all know that according to the Chinese lunar calendar 2012 is the year of dragon. At the very beginning of this auspicious year, we gather here to launch the China Happy & Healthy Tour. It is indeed very timely and fits well into the Year of Friendship and Cooperation which two countries are going to inaugurate soon. During the year of happy and healthy tour, China will design a series of unique programs which will present the tourists from all over the world not only a colorful China with rich and diversified cultural heritages and unparalleled landscape, but also the concept of green and eco-friendly tourism.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
China and India, as two close neighbors, enjoy long history of friendly exchanges, which have become an unfailing driving enforce for prosperity and progress of our two great civilizations.
In recent years, with the support and guidance of the leaders and governments of two countries, China-India relations have developed in an all round manner and acquired new and strategic dimension. Cooperation in tourism sector has enjoyed fast expansion and become a highlight of our over-all cooperation.
China and India, as two ancient civilizations, both are blessed with abundant tourist resources. Two countries have made each other the tourist destination country. And significant progress has been made in recent years in spite of the negative impact of global financial crisis and the sluggish world tourist market. Nowadays, over 40 direct flights shuttle between Chinese and Indian cities every week. During the Year of China-India Exchange and the Year of China Cultural Tour in 2011, the number of Indian visitors to mainland China increased 10.4% over 2010, surpassing the level of 6 hundred thousand and reaching a record number in Sino-India tourism exchange. At the same time, the first-stop visitors from China to India during 2011 were around 118 thousand, 19.1% growth over that of 2010, and scored a marked increase.
However, in view of the magnitude of population which stands at 2.5 billion, vibrant economy and growing number of affluent people, as well as improving tourist infrastructures of two countries, the current level of our cooperation in tourism is far from being satisfactory. Taking tourist flow between China, Japan and South Korea for example, in 2010, there were around 16 million people traveling between three countries. Compared with this, China and India two-way tourist volume is far too small. On the other hand, it shows that there exists great potential and opportunity for us to tap. China is committed to making great efforts to enhance bilateral cooperation in tourist sector with other countries by taking effective actions. It is worth mentioning that to further enhance bilateral tourism exchanges with India, China National Tourism Administration has sent a huge delegation led by Vice Chairman, Mr. Wang Zhifa, comprising 45 delegates from 9 provinces of China to Indian Outbound Travel Mart 2012, to further introduce Chinese tourist market to Indian counterparts and at the same time to explore the India's tourist market and opportunities for cooperation.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
China has just formulated 12th National Tourism Plan. It forecasts that the tourism industry in China will continue to thrive in the years to come. In this respect, the China Happy& Healthy Tour 2012 is a concrete step by the Chinese government to further forge tourism into a strategic mainstay industry in the national economy. I sincerely hope the launching ceremony tonight will serve as a platform for Indian friends and friends from other countries to interact with their Chinese counterparts and gain better understanding of China's tourist industry as well as discover more opportunity for cooperation.
Finally, I wish the launching ceremony a complete success. And hope the cooperation in tourist field between vibrant China and incredible India grow stronger and stronger.