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|Wednesday, August 01, 2001, updated at 22:31(GMT+8)|
Tourism Promotes Exchanges Between Nations: Chairman of German National Tourist Board"Tourism promotes the personal exchanges worldwide and builds bridges across different cultures," said Ursula Schorcher, chairman of German National Tourist Board (GNTB), Wednesday.
In a Xinhua interview Schorcher said that both Germany and China have brilliant cultures and wonderful natural scenery, the development of tourism will boost the bilateral exchanges and cooperation in many fields.
She and her colleagues are making efforts to "introduce the cultural tours with distinctive German flavor such as routes to the antique castles of the Middle Age, the Rhine, the birthplaces of many great musicians and Karl Marx," Schorcher said.
"Germans also long to visit this ancient oriental country, hoping to see the Great Wall, Forbidden City with their own eyes, and appreciate traditional Chinese culture such as Beijing Opera and the musical instrument Gu Zheng," she said.
It is reported that some 250,000 Germans toured China last year, and almost the same number of Chinese tourists visited Germany. The latest figures from the GNTB showed that the overnight stays of Chinese citizens totaled 467,000, up 17.8 percent over the corresponding period of 1999.
The number of overnight stays increased 22 percent in the first four months of this year. The number will keep growing when Germany becomes the Authoritative Destination System (ADS) country for Chinese tourists. So far, China has already become the third most important overseas market for Germany, next only to the United States and Japan.
Schorcher said she is confident about China's future tourism markets. She said that China's tourism industry has developed rapidly. More and more open-minded Chinese people hope to go abroad in order to broaden their horizons and to gain advanced management skills, she said.
She said that both Germany and China lay stress on environmental protection and sustainable development. Germany has advocated cycling tours aiming to reduce car pollution, she said.
Many branches of German companies in China support Beijing's decision for the Green Olympics. The famous Volkswagen Musical Fund has been distributed in China recently to foster Chinese tastes for classical music.
"We can imagine one day members of Berlin Music Philharmonic Orchestra will visit China, bringing the best music to Chinese people," she said.
When the GNTB establishes an office here later this year, tourism is expected to contribute to the two countries' cultural exchange and cooperation, and the mutual understanding of both countries will be grow, she said.
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