Hebei aims to boost tourism ties with Finland
18 Sep 2018, 00:03 ( 9 Months ago) | updated: 18 Sep 2018, 09:19 ( 9 Months ago)
Finland and China aim to bolster cultural exchanges between Finland and Hebei Province of China in order to improve bilateral trade and tourism between the regions.
The Tourism Development Committee of Hebei Province in association with the Chinese embassy in Helsinki and Visit Finland organised a tourism promotion conference on Monday at a Helsinki hotel. The conference was held marking the year 2018 as the EU-China tourism year aimed at promoting the less-known tourist destinations in a proactive way.
“In 2017, the governments of Finland and China made the decision to promote cultural exchange with an emphasis on Winter Olympic, energy and tourism,” said Hebei Tourism Development Committee representative Zhai Yu Hu.
Like Finland, Hebei also enjoys great sightseeing and snow sport activities in winter. The province is an internationally renowned ice and snow sports and tourism resort in China. It has more than 80 skiing resorts, of which the largest one covers about 156 kilometres. In the 2017-2018 snow season the area received as many as 2.741 million visitors.
Most importantly, Hebei’s northwestern city of Zhangjiakou has become the host of snow projects of 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.
Since Finland has for long been known as an experienced country in ice and snow activities and sports, Hebei Tourism Development Committee expects to learn from Finland. Besides, the province also aims at knowing more about winter sports equipment from Finnish companies to elevate itself to the international level in terms of manufacturing them.
According to Zhai Yu Hu, Hebei also has similar geographical features as Finland, having great forests and a large number of lakes. Embracing the capital city of Beijing and other neighbouring municipalities and facing the Bohai Sea with a 487km coastal line, Hebei Province is a world-class urban agglomeration.
The province is circled by a variety of top tourism attractions, from the famous Great Wall, world-recognised geological parks and national reserves to the thousand-year historical complex of imperial gardens, ancient palaces and temples. “Hebei is one of the deserved places to visit in China,” said Zhai Yu Hu.
Apart from a tourism promotion framework, Hebei also has a trade facilitation policy that allows 144-hour visa-free transit for visitors from 53 countries and tax rebate on shopping departures for overseas tourists.
In December, Visit Finland, the official tourism promotion board of Finland, will go to Zhangjiakou to organise an opening event of the Winter Olympics 2022, which might become a good opportunity for promoting cooperation in sports and tourism between the two countries, said Visit Finland representative Teemu Ahola.
According to Guo Xiao Guang, cultural counsellor at the Chinese embassy in Helsinki, “tourism is the best means” to increase mutual understanding between the two countries. Therefore, the Chinese embassy to Finland also acts as a bridge between the agencies and companies of Finland and China in accelerating tourism cooperation.
To date, the Finnish national flag carrier Finnair has launched five direct flights from Helsinki to five different cities in China, thereby considerably increasing the number of Finnish tourists to China in recent years, while also adding a large number of Chinese visitors to Finland.