Greater cooperation on tourism between China and Argentina is urged in a bid to boost bilateral exchange and mutual understanding, Chinese ambassador to Argentina Yang Wanming said in an interview with Xinhua on Thursday.
"We Chinese always say: to gain wisdom, it's not enough to read 10,000 books, you have to travel 10,000 kilometers," Yang said at the opening of the 2nd Forum on Tourism and Hotel Investment in Argentina's capital, adding "tourism builds a significant bridge for intercultural communication."
Speaking highly of the ties between the two countries, which are "at their peak," Yang noted that China is known as a great tourism powerhouse,which has the largest domestic tourism market in the world.
China "received a total of 128 million international tourists in 2014, which ranks it as the fourth most-visited destination by foreign travelers," Yang told senior Argentinean and Chinese tourism officials.
At the same time, China "is the country that sends the largest number of tourists abroad," said Yang.
Last year, more than 100 million Chinese tourists traveled around the world, "in other words, one out of 10 international travelers is of Chinese nationality," Yang added.
He noted that Argentina, a tourism heavyweight in its region, also leads South American destination for foreign visitors, said Yang.
Tourism between the two countries is already on the upswing, said Yang, with Argentinean statistics showing that "in the past decade, the number of Chinese tourists to Argentina has grown five fold."
"Last year, more than 30,000 Chinese tourists arrived in this beautiful place, making Argentina the favorite South American destination for my compatriots," said Yang.
Given the distance between the two countries, "we have to offer easier visa processing, flights and tourism services to encourage reciprocal visits." Yang urged.
Thanks to the efforts of both governments, a bilateral accord went into effect in June that makes it easier to issue tourism visas.
"Argentinean guides told me that this new policy led to a rapid rise in Chinese tourists to Argentina," said Yang. "I hope both sides continue to take more steps to ease the visa process and design air routes to increase reciprocal visits."
"Argentina isn't just known for its glaciers and waterfalls, but also for its tango, football and cuisine, while also serving as a hub for trips to Antarctica and two-ocean cruises," Yang said.
Yang offered his country's backing of efforts by Argentina's Tourism Ministry and Tourism Chamber, as well as travel agencies and hotels, to run promotional campaigns in China and establish cooperation with their Chinese counterparts.
China is Argentina's third-largest source of foreign investment and "has extensive experience in sectors linked to tourism, such as transport, telecommunications and real estate development," said Yang, highlighting the two nations'economic complementarity.
The Asian giant also "welcomes" Argentinean companies that want to "explore business opportunities in China," said Yang.