BUDAPEST — Premier Li Keqiang sent a congratulations message to the launching ceremony held on March 26 of a yearlong event to promote tourism cooperation between China and Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries.
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban also sent a congratulations message to the launching ceremony, held in Budapest, the Hungarian capital.
Tourism serves as a bridge for the spread of civilization, cultural exchanges, and the promotion of friendship, Li Jinzao, head of the China National Tourism Administration, said at the ceremony.
There are no large-scale tourism exchanges between China and CEE countries, but the growth potential is enormous, he said.
He encouraged the CEE countries to develop more tourism products and provide more suitable services for Chinese tourists, saying China is willing to increase mutual tourism investment.
Levente Magyar, state secretary of the Hungarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, said the number of Chinese tourists to Hungary doubled over the past five years and rose to 90,000 in 2014, adding that China has become Hungary’s largest tourist source country in Asia.
He said that thanks to China’s decision to open direct flights between Beijing and Budapest on May 1, the number of Chinese tourists would be increased greatly.
Chinese Ambassador to Hungary Xiao Qian, officials of the United Nations World Tourism Organization and tourism service providers attended the ceremony.
Earlier in the day, the China National Tourism Administration and their counterparts of CEE countries also held a conference on China’s tourism information and workshops for travel companies.