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Silk Road International Tourism Festival Opens in Gansu
By Wang Hairong | Web Exclusive
Lin Duo, Secretary of the Gansu Provincial Committee of the Communist Party of China, declares open the Eighth Dunhuang Tour–Silk Road International Tourism Festival (WANG HAIRONG)

As dusk fell, the usually solemn-looking Jiayuguan Pass took on vibrant light, sound and color as the opening ceremony of the Eighth Dunhuang Tour–Silk Road International Tourism Festival got underway on June 19. The pass, situated in Jiayuguan City in northwest China's Gansu Province, is famous for being the westernmost end of the Ming Great Wall and an important point on the Silk Road.

The festival, jointly hosted by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and the Gansu Provincial Government, offers an important platform for tourism cooperation and exchange among countries and regions along the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road, which together make up the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative.

Beneath shafts of light emanating from stage lamps high above, an audience of 1,500 plus people including government officials, the representatives of tourism businesses, investors and journalists from home and abroad gathered to kick off the month-long international tourism festival.

Tang Renjian, Governor of Gansu Province, delivers a speech at the opening ceremony of the Eighth Dunhuang Tour–Silk Road International Tourism Festival (WANG HAIRONG)

Participants included 368 foreign guests from 52 foreign countries and regions, including many from those along the Belt and Road routes. Representatives from three international tourism organizations, namely the World Tourism Organization, the World Tourism Alliance and the Pacific Asia Tourism Association, were in attendance.

Addressing the opening ceremony, Governor of Gansu Tang Renjian said Gansu is blessed with such a rich history and vast landscape that by taking just one step one can traverse 1,000 years of history, while with just one glance one can see 10,000 km. A journey in the province is not only one of culture and history, natural ecology and folk customs, but also one about harmonious coexistence between man and nature and one that can bring more significance to life, he said.

Tang said the Belt and Road Initiative, proposed by President Xi Jinping five years ago, puts Gansu at the forefront of opening up to countries and regions west of China, and avails an important opportunity for mutually beneficial cooperation between the Chinese province and places along the Belt and Road routes.

Du Jiang, an official from the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, pointed out that the Silk Road is one of the most vibrant travel routes in the world with great untapped potential. Speaking highly of Gansu's great progress in tourism in recent years, he expressed his hope for guests to the festival to share development opportunities, engage in pragmatic cooperation and promote common development.

The opening ceremony of the Eighth Dunhuang Tour–Silk Road International Tourism Festival is held at Guangyuguan Pass, Jiayuguan City in northwest China's Gansu Province, on June 19 (WANG HAIRONG)

In addition to the opening ceremony, 10 other activities were held in Jiayuguan to launch the festival, including an evening gala, a business conference, a food fair, activities marking the 2018 China-Belarus Year of Tourism and exhibitions on tourism products from countries and regions along the Belt and Road routes.

Moreover, during the month-long festival, a number of tourism activities will take place in 14 cities and prefectures across Gansu, which are expected to attract a large number of visitors and boost the local economy.

Gansu is home to a diverse climate and landscape, including the gobi desert, danxia landform, glaciers, snow-capped mountains, canyons and karst caves. The province is intersected at points by the Silk Road, the Yellow River and the Great Wall. Spectacular natural beauty is accompanied by rich cultural heritage, and some of China's 56 ethnic groups, with their abundant folklore and varied customs, can be found here.

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