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Xi says tourism focus boosts Sino and Swiss relations

Time:2017-12-09   Source:China Daily


President XiJinping (R) and his Swiss counterpart Doris Leuthard pose for photos during a launching ceremony of the China-Switzerland Year of Tourism in Davos, Switzerland, Jan 17, 2017. [Photo/Xinhua]


China-Switzerland tourism cooperation has injected fresh impetus into the development of bilateral relations, President Xi Jinping said, calling for more efforts to strengthen people-to-people exchanges and enhance practical cooperation.

Xi made the remarks in a congratulatory message to the closing ceremony of the China-Switzerland Year of Tourism, held on Thursday in Lausanne, Switzerland.

In his message, Xi said he made the decision to launch the year of tourism together with his Swiss counterpart, Doris Leuthard.

During Xi's trip to Switzerland in January, the two leaders launched the year of tourism on the sidelines of the 47th annual World Economic Forum in Davos.

China and Switzerland held exchange activities and expanded personnel exchanges during the year, which enhanced mutual understanding between the two peoples and promoted bilateral communication in such areas as culture, economy and trade, Xi said.

He stressed that people's involvement and support have been an important foundation for the development of China-Switzerland relations.

On Thursday, the tourism authorities of China and Switzerland signed a memorandum of understanding on tourism cooperation.

The two sides agreed on joint efforts to promote tourism products, share tourism information and learn from each other's experiences on sustainable development of tourism, including mountain and winter tourism.

Li Jinzao, head of the China National Tourism Administration, said that setting the China-Switzerland Year of Tourism was among the important consensuses reached by the presidents of the two countries, and its significance goes beyond tourism itself, with far-reaching influence on people-to-people exchanges.

China would like to deepen cooperation with Switzerland in such areas as mountain tourism, winter tourism and hotel services training, Li said at the China-Switzerland Tourism Forum in Lausanne on Thursday.

China is currently the fourth-largest source of tourists to Switzerland. In 2015, the number of Chinese tourists to Switzerland reached a record high of 1.36 million. The number is expected to reach 1.5 million this year, Li said.
In May, Leuthard, president of the Swiss Confederation, attended an event to mark the China-Switzerland Year of Tourism at the Great Wall on the sidelines of the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in Beijing.

Meanwhile, Li said at the forum that China's ongoing "toilet revolution" is amid the government's efforts to improve the quality of tourism and resolve the problems of unbalanced and inadequate development of the country's tourism industry.

In 2015, a three-year campaign to increase the number and sanitation of toilets at tourist sites began. As of the end of October, over 20 billion yuan ($3 billion) had been spent on installing or renovating 68,000 toilets at tourist sites, exceeding the original target of 57,000 toilets.