China Hangzhou Tourism International Promotion Conference was held in Chicago on Monday, with the attendance of over 100 government officials and tourism industry representatives from the two countries.
Hangzhou, the iconic city located in east China, is a mixture of long Chinese history and culture, attractive landscape and modern city, Chinese Consul General in Chicago Hong Lei said, addressing the event.
"Welcome to Hangzhou, and I believe you will enjoy yourselves so much as to forget to go back," he told the participants.
Last year, over 5.6 million mutual visits were made across the Pacific, Hong said.
Understanding and friendship are the foundation of a good China-U.S. relationship, and tourism undoubtedly serves as a bridge to boost bilateral understanding, he added.
"I hope people-to-people exchange of this kind could go stronger, building a better and more prosperous future for bilateral relations," Hong said.
Wang Hong, visiting deputy mayor of Hangzhou, said that Hangzhou, which is actively promoting business cooperation worldwide, is "willing to strengthen cooperation with the city of Chicago in the fields of tourism, culture, trade and economy."
David Whitaker, president and CEO of Choose Chicago, the city's tourism marketing arm, said in his speech that Hangzhou is one of his favourite cities in China.
China now has become Chicago's fastest growing tourist source market, he said. "City of Chicago values the great potential of the Chinese market, so we welcome more Chinese tourists to Chicago."