Canadian tourism minister promotes her country in China
As part of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's official delegation, Canadian Tourism Minister Bardish Chagger is in China promoting Canada as a top Chinese tourist destination.
Chagger, who also serves as Canada's minister of small business and the leader in the House of Commons, wants Sino-Canadian ties to be further strengthened through tourism.
On her second visit to China this year, Chagger hopes more Canadians will see China too.
"It's important for them to visit China and see what's taking place there," she told Xinhua in a telephone interview on Wednesday in Guangzhou, capital of South China's Guangdong province. "In Canada, diversity is our strength and maximizing that diversity is by seeing the world."
Chagger said that while in China, she learned the Chinese see Canada as "a symbol of strength," and associate the country with a clean environment and innovation. They also know Trudeau, recognize Canada's maple-leaf symbol and love Canadian maple products.
On Wednesday, Trudeau delivered a keynote address at the Fortune Global Forum held in Guangzhou and met with senior business executives, including Alibaba Group founder Jack Ma and Ford Motor Co executive chairman Bill Ford.
Canada's connection to China is strong. More than 1.8 million Canadians have some Chinese ancestry. For example, Mandarin and Cantonese are the most spoken languages in Canada after the country's two official ones: English and French.
In 2016, 610,000 Chinese nationals visited Canada - a 24 percent increase from the previous year, according to the Canadian government's national marketing agency Destination Canada. As of September, year-to-date Chinese arrivals reached 557,178.
By 2021, the Canadian government wants the number of Chinese tourists coming to Canada to be doubled to more than 1 million annually. Therefore, Canada opened seven new visa application centers in September, separately in Chengdu, Hangzhou, Jinan, Kunming, Nanjing, Shenyang and Wuhan.
On Tuesday, Chagger and Li Jinzao, chairman of the China National Tourism Administration, unveiled a logo in Beijing to promote the Canada-China Year of Tourism in 2018.
The logo features a Chinese panda and a Canadian polar bear in a circle, which Chagger said symbolizes "people-to-people and business-to-business ties" between the two countries.
The Canada-China Year of Tourism will be officially launched in Canada next year and conclude in China later in 2018.