Visiting Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin attended the opening ceremony of the Year of Chinese Tourism in Moscow on March 22.
China and Russia have previously held reciprocal national and language years, and the Russian tourism year in China.
The Year of Russia in China was launched on January 1, 2006 and the Year of China in Russia was inaugurated in December 31, 2006 when then Chinese President Hu Jintao and Putin exchanged messages of congratulation to celebrate the new year of 2007.
During the two years, China and Russia held more than 500 events covering political, economic, cultural, military, education, technology and health fields.
The Year of Russian Language in China was held in 2009. More than 260 events were held in 22 Chinese provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities, with participants and audiences reaching more than 100 million.
The Year of Chinese Language in Russia was held in 2010. Russia's 23 federal subjects celebrated more than 200 events. Chinese kung fu, cuisine, medicine and philosophy became increasingly popular among the Russian people.
The Year of Russian Tourism in China was successfully held in 2012. The number of Chinese tourists visiting Russia during the year rose 47 percent to 343,000.
(Xinhua News Agency March 23, 2013)