Sichuan promotes culture, tourism in UK

2023-10-23 Editor : Mo Honge ECNS App Download

An event introducing the culture of Southwest China's Sichuan province to the United Kingdom is held in London on Oct 20. (Photo provided to China Daily)

A cultural tourism promotion event titled "Sichuan, more than pandas" was held in London on Friday.

The event, hosted by the Sichuan Provincial Department of Culture and Tourism and supported by the China National Tourist Office in London, introduced attendees to tourist attractions and tourist facilities in Southwest China's Sichuan province.

Artistic designs featuring giant pandas are on display at the event. (Photo provided to China Daily)

Sichuan is well-known for being home to giant pandas, with 16 giant panda nature reserves housing more than 80 percent of China's giant pandas.

Edinburgh Zoo in Scotland has been home to two giant pandas from Ya'an, Sichuan, named Yang Guang and Tian Tian, for the last 12 years, since they arrived in 2011 under a 10-year agreement which was extended for another two years in 2021.

"But Sichuan is more than pandas," said Zhao Fei, minister of China's embassy in the United Kingdom.

Sichuan enjoys splendid natural landscapes, with five scenic areas being listed as World Heritage Sites by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, or UNESCO, as the province has great differences in terrain. The eastern part of Sichuan occupies the fertile Sichuan basin, while the western part has the mountain ranges forming the easternmost part of the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau.

As the Yangtze River flows through the province, rich civilization has also developed in the area. The Sanxingdui Ruins unveiled in the city of Guanghan, for example, serve as proof of the profound history of Sichuan, with more than 10,000 artifacts, including gold masks, bronzewares, ivories, jades, and textiles, tracing the culture back more than 3,000 years.

Sichuan Opera's face-changing show is performed at the event. (Photo provided to China Daily)

The UK has been one of Europe's major tourist-generating countries for Sichuan, with more than 244,000 British people visiting the province in 2019, according to Tian Xiangli, chairwoman of the Sichuan Provincial Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference.

"The bonds of friendship between Sichuan and the UK are long-lasting, and the Sino-British cooperation in the tourism industry can further facilitate our relationship. I hope the event today can open a new chapter for improving the cultural exchanges between the two sides," said Tian.

John McLean, chairman of the China UK Business Development Centre, who has traveled to China extensively, said tourism can bring people together and break biases and misinformation.

"Whenever you visit a place, you get to understand how people live their lives differently, and it is how they live that creates understanding. Life these days is all about understanding each other and finding shared experiences," he said.

He also pointed out that people-to-people exchanges are significant to economic development, noting that more British businesses are showing willingness to engage with China compared to the situation earlier this year, which signifies a positive sign for the Sino-British bilateral relationship.

He went on to say he would continue to promote exchanges between China and the UK in the areas of trade, investment, technology, education, tourism, and more.

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