On Friday 19 January 2018, and following the announcement made by Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and the Chinese Premier Li Keqiang in July 2016, the EU-China Tourism Year (ECTY) will be launched at the Doge’s Palace in Venice.
This initiative provides a unique opportunity to increase the number of visits, promote sustainable tourism, stimulate investment opportunities for Europe and China, and underpin the ongoing negotiations on EU-China visa facilitation and air connectivity. The year will be opened by the Commissioner for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, Elżbieta Bieńkowska, European Parliament President Antonio Tajani, the Bulgarian Minister of Tourism representing the Presidency of the Council of the European Union, Nikolina Angelkova, the Italian Minister of Cultural Heritage and Activities and Tourism, Dario Franceschini, the Vice-Chairman of the CPPCC National Committee, Mr. Qi Xuchun, and the Vice-Chairman of the China National Tourism Administration, Du Jiang. The EU-China Tourism Year will consist of a number of cooperative marketing campaigns funded through public-private partnerships, business summits, and business-to-business meetings for tourism operators funded by the COSME programme. On the EU side, the aim is to lead to an annual increase of 10% of Chinese visitors, representing at least €1 billion each year for the EU tourism industry, and an estimate of 200 partnership agreements between EU and Chinese companies. The ECTY is a concrete manifestation of EU cultural diplomacy in the framework of the EU-China strategic partnership. The initiative is also in line with the EU Strategy on China adopted in 2016. It is a way to develop a better understanding between European and Chinese people, contributing to the “High Level EU-China People-to-People Dialogue” and the 2018 European Year of Cultural Heritage. The opening ceremony will be followed by the first EU-China Tourism Business Summit.