First Chinese "official" tourist group in France

The first Chinese "official" touristgroup arrived in Paris-Roissy airport on Wednesday and was greetedby French Minister Delegate for Tourism, Leon Bertrand.

It was "the first delegation to benefit from new accords between China and Europe on tourism," said Bertrand, who declared very happy to receive them in Paris.

Liu Zhiming, Chinese minister charge d'affaires in the Chinese embassy to France, also took part in the greeting ceremony with some French officials.

France is expected to be a major destination for China in several years, by the end of 2005, "our country will see more thanone million Chinese tourists," said the French minister.

The group, composed by 56 persons, came from Beijing on board of a Chinese airline Air China CA933.

Their visiting program will be well charged. The Eiffel Tower, Museum of Louvre, the famous Printemps department store, the cabaret Moulin Rouge, the Versailles Palace are well prepared to receive this first "official" group, including some tourism officials and 10 journalists, in their two-day visit in Paris.

Saturday morning, they will leave for Geneva on TGV (high speed)train to continue their trip in Switzerland and Italy.

The new accord signed last month between Europe and China will allow the Chinese people to travel to 27 European countries, amongwhich 22 are European Union members. Other Chinese tourist groups are to arrive in other European countries.

Source: Xinhua

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