In preparation for the upcoming China-EU Tourism Year in 2018, the “Belt and Road China-EU Forum on Regional Promotion” took place in Brussels on 10th July.

Guests at the forum worked towards promoting close and complementary relations between regional promotion and tourism, and on ways that will advance cooperation between both sides.

The forum was attended by over 300 guests from around the globe, including H.E. Ambassador Yang Yanyi, head of the Mission of the PRC to the EU, Shen Haixiong, member of the Provincial Party Standing Committee of Guangdong and Provincial Publicity Chief, Istvan Ujhelyi, vice chairman of the Committee on Transport and Tourism of European Parliament and Chairman of Europe China OBOR Culture and Tourism Development Committee and Shao Changchun, president of Europe-China Education and Culture Foundation.

Guangdong in Southern China, has been leading the country in reform and opening-up, and gained much momentum, economically and culturally. The success the province reaped has been attributed to its hardworking people and the open mind. The forum today is not just about a harmonious dialogue for diverse cultures and societies, but more of a platform that will promote China-EU relations by providing opportunities generated by the Belt and Road initiative for both sides,” said Yang in her opening remarks at the forum.

In his opening speech, Shen introduced Guangdong as one of the starting points of the Maritime Silk Road, and talked of the trading origin the province shared with Europe. He stressed that governing concepts are essential to regional promotion, adding that China’s new outlook on development “is in line with that of EU”. “Both sides are committed to putting people and their wellbeing first, making sure that people share the economic benefits from the quality development. A round of discussion on such visions will inevitably promote mutual understanding between peoples of China and Europe and further advance globalization,” his remarks suggested.

During the opening ceremony, EU officials including Istvan Ujhelyi expressed sincere welcome to and high praise for the holding of the forum in their speeches, believing that the forum would help to promote humanity and cultural communication and cooperation between EU and China.

Following the opening ceremony, countries, business representatives and individual artists from China and Europe started discussion on the innovative practices of image promotion for China and Europe. Guangdong Provincial Publishing Group (GDPG) released the English version of Beautiful China Trip book series. The Information Office of the People’s Government of Guangdong Provincesigned cooperative agreements with the Europe-China OBOR Culture & Tourism Development Committee, GDPG and Belgium’s Kamyuen Group respectively.

“In recent years, the EU economy has been greatly boosted by a growing number of Chinese tourists. This has enhanced mutual understanding of each other. On top of tourist economy, what we may promote in the future is relevant ideas,” said Shao.

Dominique Andre, head of the Promotion of Wallonia, Belgium, said the two sides should improve mutual understanding and mutual trust through tourism and other cultural exchanges in the future.

The forum was held by the Mission of the PRC to the European Union, Information Office of the People’s Government of Guangdong Province, Committee of the China Arts Festival in the EU, and Europe-China OBOR Culture & Tourism Development Committee.