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ASEAN, China boost tourism cooperation

A new era in international tourism looms as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and China reaffirmed full commitment and support for the 2017 ASEAN-China Year of Tourism Cooperation program during its recent launch attended by Chinese officials at the Philippine International Convention Center.

President Rodrigo Duterte, hailed the “reawakening of an age-old kinship” with China that dates back to pre-Spanish barter trade and tourism.

“Through regional cooperation and diplomacy tourism, the goals to increase visitor arrivals, promote cultural exchanges, generate more livelihood for local people, improve infrastructure, and diversify investment in tourism activities can be achieved between ASEAN and China,” said Duterte in a relayed message to Philippine Tourism Secretary Wanda Tulfo-Teo.

Chinese Vice Premier Wang Yang, who heads the portfolios of Agriculture, Water Resources, Commerce and Tourism, delivered a message from Chinese President Xi  Jinping, who lauded the friendly ASEAN neighbors for neutrality in regional affairs and sharing the geography through tourism cooperation.

“China accepts such stance as a sign of mutual respect, opportunity for development, and affirmation for global peace and prosperity,” Duterte said. “The current world situation is reconciliatory. Through tourism cooperation, ASEAN and China can do great and good things together like our situation in the Philippines where we are prioritizing sustainable and inclusive tourism. With booming travel between ASEAN and China, our cooperation will bring nations and peoples closer together.”

The ASEAN-China Tourism Cooperation is an initiative that seeks to enhance the partnership of China with the 10 ASEAN member countries that include the Philippines,

Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Having been designated this year’s host of ASEAN Summit on rotation basis among the 10 member states, the Philippine Department of Tourism (DOT) coordinated with the China National Tourism Administration (CNTA) for the recent meetings.

At the opening ceremonies, spectacular cultural performances were staged by the CNTA, including a song number, called “Travelling Around the World” by a Chinese songstress and an all-male kung fu demonstration called “Kungfu Revelations – 9 Scrolls.”