Canada's British Columbia welcomes Approved Destination Status deal with China

13:56, June 25, 2010      

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Visiting Chinese President Hu Jintao(L,back)and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper(R, back)attend the signing ceremony of a tourism destination agreement between the two coutries in Ottawa, Canada a, June 24, 2010.(Xinhua/Li Xueren)

Canada's western province of British Columbia welcomed the signing of a tourism agreement establishing Approved Destination Status (ADS) between Canada and China on Thursday, which will be a huge boost to this area's tourism industry.

The formal agreement to designate Canada as a destination of overseas travel by Chinese citizens was signed in a ceremony in Ottawa, which was attended by visiting Chinese President Hu Jintao and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

"This is a significant milestone in our relations with China, " said British Columbia (B.C.) Premier Gordon Campbell.

"Not only will Approved Destination Status result in substantial economic benefits for B.C. in the form of increased tourism revenues and job creation," said Campbell. "it represents an important step forward in strengthening our role as Canada's gateway to the Asia Pacific."

The new ADS agreement takes effect immediately and will enable Chinese citizens to travel to Canada in organized, pre-sold tour groups. Previously, Chinese travellers to Canada were eligible to obtain exit visas to Canada only if travelling for study, visiting friends and relatives, business or independent tourism activities.

ADS opens up a rapidly growing segment of the Chinese tourism market for B.C., said Campbell, who expected that the agreement would help promote strong growth in B.C.'s tourism sector.

It's estimated that the agreement will increase Chinese visitors to B.C. by 10 percent in 2010, 15 percent in 2011 and an additional 15 percent for 2012. Last year, 160,833 Chinese visitors came to Canada, with more than half visiting B.C..

The B.C. government plans to maximize the province's exposure to potential Chinese tourists through expanded marketing campaigns highlighting the many tourism opportunities it has to offer.

These marketing campaigns will include media promotions to increase consumer awareness in China of B.C. as a highly desirable travel destination and co-operative advertising of packaged group holidays available through selected tour operators.



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