Message of Congratulations from Premier Wen Jiabao On the Inauguration of the Year of Russian Tourism in China
On the occasion of the inauguration of the Year of Russian Tourism in China, I extend, on behalf of the Chinese government and people, best wishes to the friendly Russian government and people and warm welcome to the Russian friends attending the ceremony.
China and Russia are close and friendly neighbors. Our two peoples have engaged in friendly interactions for several centuries and enjoy profound friendship. In recent years, China and Russia have endeavored to forge a comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination featuring equality, trust, mutual support, common prosperity and enduring friendship. We have pursued close cooperation in political, economic, energy, science and technology and military fields, in people-to-people and cultural exchanges and local exchanges as well as in international affairs. And we have built a relationship of mutual trust, mutual benefit and mutual help, bringing our relations to an unprecedented level.
State-to-state relations thrive when there is friendship between the peoples. And such friendship grows out of close interactions between the peoples. To promote mutual visits, deepen communication and understanding of the two peoples, and pursue the goal of enhancing peace and lasting friendship between China and Russia is the shared desire of the Chinese and Russian peoples. This is also important for building the comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination between our two countries. Tourism is the most natural and effective way to promote exchanges and friendship of our two peoples. With rich tourism resources, both China and Russia are major tourism countries. Our two countries have favorable geographical conditions, good opportunities and strong popular support to boost tourism cooperation. I am confident that with the commitment of the two governments and extensive public participation, the rich and colorful activities of the Year of Russian Tourism in China will fully display the enchanting scenery, rich historical and cultural heritage and splendid literature and art of a vibrant Russia.
The Chinese and Russians are hospitable people. In the past 30 years and more of reform and opening up, the Chinese people have opened their arms to foreign visitors, and they are eager to embrace the world. In 2011, China's outbound tourists exceeded 70 million and inbound tourists topped 57 million, making it a major tourist country. In the same year, over 800,000 Chinese visited Russia on the first leg of their overseas visits and over 2.5 million Russians visited China. Still, these figures are modest compared with our friendly and cooperative relations and the partnership of comprehensive strategic coordination. I hope that the launching of the Year of Russian Tourism in China will boost tourism cooperation between our two countries. We welcome more Russian friends to China and encourage more Chinese to visit Russia.
I wish the Year of Russian Tourism in China full success!
Premier of the State Council of
23 March 2012