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China and CEE countries sign tourism cooperation agreements

By Cai Jingwen ( chinadaily.com.cn )

Updated: 2015-06-11

 
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Countries from Central and Eastern Europe are expected to become hot destinations for Chinese tourists, with a string of tourism cooperation agreements signed recently between the two sides.

The China (Ningbo) - CEEC Tourism Cooperation and Exchange Conference kicked off at the coastal city of Ningbo, Eastern China's Zhejiang province, on June 10. The conference was held on the sidelines of the first China-CEEC Investment and Trade Expo held from June 8 to 12.

China and CEE countries sign tourism cooperation agreements

A representative from a CEE country signs her name on the signature board at the China (Ningbo) - CEEC Tourism Cooperation and Exchange Conference. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

Sponsored by the Ningbo municipal government, the tourism cooperation and exchange conference was attended by more than 600 representatives from national tourism bureaus of China and 13 CEE countries, as well as domestic travel agencies and reporters.

China and CEE countries sign tourism cooperation agreements

The signing ceremony of tourism exchange and cooperation agreement between Ningbo and CEE countries. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

At the conference, national tourism bureaus from 11 CEE countries made specific presentations to introduce their local tourism attractions and resources.

Ningbo Tourism Bureau signed exchange and cooperation agreements with both Latvia and Poland in an effort to boost mutual tourism.

The tourism cooperation and exchange conference was held under the Belgrade Guidelines for Cooperation between China and the CEE countries, which was signed by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and CEE leaders in Belgrade, Serbia, in December 2014.

It envisages, among other things, people-to-people exchanges and increased cooperation between China and the CEEC in education, culture and tourism.

"The Ningbo government is planning to launch direct charter flights to CEE countries to meet ever-increasing demand from domestic tourists," said Chen Gang, deputy director of the Ningbo Tourism Bureau, adding that Ningbo government was providing subsidies to local travel agencies, which have launched package tours to the CEE countries, something he said contributes to tourism industry in those countries as Ningbo's tourism partners.

"Our bureau is calling on Ningbo-based travel agencies to offer local residents discounted package tours to the CEE countries from June to October. The package tours to visit CEE countries in June, which were organized by some local travel agencies, have sold out soon after the preferential policies were initiated." Chen stressed. He pointed out that the Ningbo government was also promoting its own tourist attractions in CEE countries to attract visitors from the region.

All these activities and bilateral agreements are expected to provide a strong impetus to revive China's culture and tourism cooperation with the CEE countries along the Silk Road Economic Belt.

By Cai Jingwen and edited by Mevlut Katik