Speech by H.E. Ambassador Zhang Yan at the Henan Tourism Presentation
2011/09/07

(Samarat Hotel, New Delhi, September 6th ,2011)

H. E. Madam Kong Yufang, Vice Governor of People's Government of Henan Province
Distinguished guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

It's a great pleasure for me to attend this presentation session. First of all, I would like to welcome Madam Kong Yufang, Vice Governor of People's Government of Henan Province to visit India. Your visit will not only deepen the bilateral cooperation in tourism between China and India, but also bring a colorful Henan with rich cultural heritage and unparalleled landscape to incredible India. I also want express my gratitude to Indian friends. Your gracious presence has demonstrated the importance the Indian Government attaches to the culture and tourism exchanges of our two countries.

China and India, as two close neighbors, enjoy long history of friendly exchanges characterized by mutual influence and mutual inspiration over more than 2,000 years. China owes its Buddhist culture to India and India draws inspirations from Chinese products like tea, porcelain and silk. In history, the Buddhist monks Fa Xian and Xuan Zang, the great navigator Zheng He from China, and the Bodhidharma(or Damo in Chinese) from India, among many others, made their contributions to the interactions between two great civilizations. In the modern times, the great Indian thinker and Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore, Professor Tan Yunshan and famous Chinese scholar Dr. Ji Xianlin have made unremitting endeavors in promoting the cultural ties and friendship between the two nations. All these exchanges have greatly enhanced mutual understanding and friendship of our two peoples, and become an unfailing driving force for the prosperity of two great civilizations.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Situated at the east part of central China, Henan Province is the cradle of ancient Chinese civilization. It is the birthplace of China's great historic figures, and the origin of the unique Chinese inventions and martial arts. Among 8 ancient capitals in China, 4 are located in Henan province, namely Zhengzhou, Kaifeng, Luoyang and Anyang. Emperors of 20 dynasties chose to build their capitals there. China's long history and rich culture have bestowed Henan province an array of world-renowned historic and cultural heritage and variety of famous tourist attractions. The historical heritage sites, such as the Historic Monuments of Dengfeng, Longmen Grottoes and Anyang Yinxu are world-famous. To take the Longmen Grottoes as an example, it embodies the profound mutual influence of cultures between our two countries. It has already attracted many Indians to visit it. The White Horse Temple located in city of Luoyang is another vivid testament of the long history of exchanges between Henan Province and India. In October of 2010, H. E. President Patil, of India, during her official visit to China, personally inaugurated the Indian style Buddhist Hall in the White Horse Temple.

With rich historical and cultural heritages and attractive scenery, Henan Province has already become a very popular tourist destination for domestic and foreign tourists. Regularly tourist events, such as the International Mayors Forum on Tourism (IMFT), Luoyang Peony Fair, and International Yellow River Festival in Sanmenxia, are organized which serves as useful platform to promote cooperation between China and other countries, including India.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

In recent years, our bilateral relations have witnessed an all round development. Cooperation between China and India in tourism is also gaining momentum. In the year of 2010, over 5.73 lakh (573,000) Indians visited mainland China, realizing a major breakthrough in tourism exchange between the two countries. Nowadays every week, over 40 direct flights shuttle between Chinese and Indian cities. In the first half of this year, the number of Indian visited China has reached 3.52 lakh (352,000), an increase of 11.8% over the same period of last year. While the number of Chinese visited India has reached 0.64 lakh, an increase of 17.8% over the same period. China and India have both become fast-growing tourism markets for each other. This year is designated as China-India Exchange Year and China Cultural Tour, Which will surely further enhance people-to-People exchanges and promote mutual understandings and cooperation between two countries.

However, comparing with the huge populations and vibrant economy of two countries, the current level of our cooperation on Tourism is far from satisfactory. China is making great efforts, aiming at further enhance the tourism exchange of two countries. China National Tourism Administration is sending a huge delegation comprising 70 delegates to PATA Travel Mart (PTM) 2011 in New Delhi. I hope with the joint efforts of both sides, cooperation in tourist field will become a highlight of our bilateral relations

Finally, I wish a fruitful visit by Vice Governor Kong Yufang, and also wish this presentation session a big success.

Thank you.

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