The 2019 Year of Tourism for China – Pacific Island Countries have been launched in Apia, capital of Samoa, to strengthen cultural and people-to-people ties.
Chinese Minister of Culture and Tourism Luo Shugang and Samoa's Deputy Prime Minister Hon Fiame Naomi Mata’afa at the opening ceremony of the 2019 Year of Tourism for China – Pacific Island Countries (Photos: VCG)
Mr. Luo Shugang, Minister of Culture and Tourism of China, attended the event, calling for closer cultural and personnel exchanges.
The Deputy Prime Minister Hon Fiame Naomi Mata’afa stated in the opening speech that China Pacific Tourism Year is a milestone achievement benefited from the attendance of South Pacific Tourism Organization (SPTO) in a high-level dialogue of the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in Beijing, 2017. It offers a great opportunity for Pacific island countries to showcase their stunning natural landscapes, sandy beaches, unique culture and friendly people to the Chinese tourist market.
Traditional singing and dancing in Samoa
Ms. Mata’afa acknowledged China’s role as the 7th largest tourism source market of Pacific Island countries with more than 125, 000 Chinese visitors a year, “China remains an important target for tourism growth in the Pacific over the coming years gave its numbers and spending power of the Chinese travellers”, she said.
Christopher Cocker, who is the Chief Executive Officer of SPTO, points out the Pacific island nations welcome Chinese tourists. Nineteen member countries are trying to find their own unique selling points and the unique culture to attract Chinese tourists.
Samoan Tourism Authority (STA) Chief Executive Officer Papalii Sonja Hunter also said in an interview that the launch of tourism year marks an important chapter in Samoa’s tourism calendar as it officially categorized the country as a tourism destination for Chinese visitors.
“We, as Samoans, have DNA connections with China as some Samoans have blood relationship with Chinese. We are ready and welcome them to visit our beautify country”, she said.