BELGRADE, Feb. 22 (Xinhua) -- Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic extended his welcome to Chinese tourists Wednesday at the opening of the 44th Belgrade international tourism fair, where China is the guest of honor for the first time.
"I want to invite Chinese citizens to our country... I can guarantee them that nowhere in any other country in Europe will they be welcomed as cordially, with open arms and an open heart, as they will be welcomed in Serbia," Vucic said.
From 2012 to 2019, the number of Chinese tourists in Serbia increased 30 times, Vucic said, adding that direct flights will attract even more Chinese tourists to Serbia, and vice versa.
Serbia has made huge efforts to improve its tourism industry in recent years, he said. The country's tourism income has increased by 3.5 times compared to 2012, and the number of tourist arrivals has doubled.
Representatives from over 30 countries attended the fair, which has drawn 350 exhibitors. Over 100 local municipalities will also present their programs and tourist destinations.
"China and Serbia have two unique advantages for tourism cooperation: mutual visa exemption and direct flights," said Chinese Ambassador Chen Bo.
Such cooperation has a broad prospect, as it will promote cultural exchanges between China and Central and Eastern European countries and boost economic development, said Chen.
"I look forward to seeing more Chinese tourists in Serbia and Central and Eastern European countries, and would like to welcome friends from all over the world to visit China," he added.
During his performances at the opening ceremony, Serbian musician Jovan Trkulja mixed "Love Song of Kangding," a traditional Chinese folksong, with Serbian elements.