China and Malaysia officially launched China-Malaysia Year of Culture and Tourism 2020 on Sunday, as both sides expected the year will see greater exchange between the two countries to boost bilateral ties and cooperation.
The opening ceremony was accompanied by a series of events, including the launching of the China Cultural Center in Kuala Lumpur and a China-Malaysia culture and tourism promotion event, culminating in a grand performance by artists from both countries.
Speaking on the occasion, Chinese Vice Minister of Culture and Tourism Zhang Xu said Malaysia was renowned for rich tourism resources and quality service facilities as a popular tourist destination and that both countries would cooperate closely through the campaign.
"China is ready to work together with Malaysia to strengthen our exchange and cooperation in culture and art, public cultural service and safeguarding of cultural heritage, put into action the Asia tourism promotion plan, and upgrade our tourism cooperation by capacity building and policy development to make traveling easier and more pleasant for our citizens who visit each other's countries," he said.
For his part, Malaysian Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Mohamaddin Ketapi said both countries have collaborated in various areas such as exchange of experts, cultural performances and publications.
"This year will be a very special year for Malaysia in the travel and tourism industry. It is Visit Malaysia 2020, a special tourism campaign that targets to bring in 30 million international tourists and 100 billion ringgit (24.6 billion U.S. dollars) tourism receipts to Malaysia," he said.
Mohamaddin said the opening of the China Cultural Center in Kuala Lumpur would enhance the friendly and robust bilateral collaboration between the two countries.
In August 2018, Malaysia and China designated 2020 as the Year of Culture and Tourism between the two countries for promoting greater people-to-people exchange and sustainable socio-economic growth.
The joint effort is expected to increase activity in trade, investments, cultural exchange and tourism between both countries, with the Malaysian government recently announcing measures to facilitate Chinese tourists to visit the country.