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Speech at China Holidays' 10th Anniversary Dinner Party

Speech at China Holidays' 10th Anniversary Dinner Party

Fu Ying London 2008-1-31

Ms. Stephanie Cheng, Managing Director

Mr. Carey Fletcher, Group Chairman

Mr. Jun Li, Beijing Office Manager

Mr. Chris, Int'l Sales Manager, Madame Dussaud,

Other distinguished guests:

First of all, I would like to express, on behalf of my colleagues from the Chinese Embassy, our warm congratulations on the 10th anniversary of the China Holidays.

I came back from China last night, after accompanying Prime Minister Gordon Brown on a successful visit to China.

Both sides are pleased with the result of visit. There was reaffirmation of the strong partnership and commitment to greater cooperation in all fields.

Personally, I was impressed with the warm atmosphere surrounding the visit. At the town-hall meeting, for example, over two hundred people crowded into the small hall in the Renmin University and all kinds of questions were asked.

For example, a student asked how the Prime Minister compares his good society idea with the China drive for a harmonious society.

A famous Chinese Ping Pang champion Deng Yaping asked if Gordon Brown was coming to the Beijing Olympics.

It was an interesting moment as the Prime Minster said that he would if he was invited.

The Chinese Premier, also smiling broadly, said, I can invite you right now.

The two sides agree that Olympic Games would be an excellent opportunity for tourism cooperation between our two countries.

Beijing is expecting 5 million people and among them 30,000 journalists.

Tourism in China is growing into a huge business, with total turnover of equivalent of 7 Billion Pounds.

China is receiving over 130 million in-bound tourists and out-bound tourists rose to 40 million. So there is good space for expansion.

Tourism is also a strong growth area in the China-UK relations. 600,000 British visited China last year and over 250,000 Chinese came to the UK. So there is good space for expansion.

Chinese tourists' spending is among the highest probably because it is hard for them to find made-in Britain souvenirs and have to go to the big brand names.

I do find more and more Chinese on the streets of not only London but also many other cities. In Scotland, a curator of Edinburgh Castle told me that it is the Chinese tourists who are keeping the castle active in winter.

However, I want to say candidly that there is more the British side needs to do to improve services to meet the challenges of more Chinese tourists coming this way.

Take for example, there needs to be high standard Chinese language guide.

Once I was visiting the Jane Austin Museum. The curator, who found growing number of Chinese coming to the museum, asked me to help translate their brochure.

There is also complaint about not having enough licensed Chinese language guides.

There is a slogan at the entrance of the Chinese Tourism Bureau, saying 'tourism is for prosperity and friendship'. I think that is the essence of the purpose of tourism.

I wish to thank the China Holidays and its hard working staff for what you have done to promote tourism and your contribution to our bilateral relations.

As the Chinese lunar new year of rat is arriving, I wish your business prosperity and everybody a happy new year.

I also wish all those stranded in the bad weather in parts of China able to get home for their New Year. You might have seen from the news, millions of Chinese are stuck on their way home.

Normally this is a time of largest human traveling world can see. 150 million Chinese workers and students would be trying to get home by air, by train and by bus for the New Year family gathering.

But the snow and low temperature rarely seen in history paralyzed most roads. Many of those on the roads have been staying on the road for days. At this moment, the whole country is mobilized to try to cope with the difficulties. I was following the news in China before coming here. The President, who is checking on energy supply, is seen in an underground coalmine, talking with the workers. The Premier has been in the middle of the calamity area for days.

The severe weather is testing China's crisis management ability and revealed indeed many of the weaknesses. It also united the people and raised the government's consciousness to serve the people better.

I am glad to hear that Anhui has got through its roads and improvement has been made in other provinces too.

Let me express on behalf of all of you present, our sincere hope that all those who long for the Chinese New Year holidays will be able to get to their family celebrations.

Thank you! Xin Nian Hao(Happy New Year)!