People pose with panda mascots outside the Royal Theater in Copenhagen, Denmark, Dec. 5, 2017. The 2017 China-Denmark Tourism Year wrapped up with a gala closing ceremony in the Danish capital city of Copenhagen on Tuesday. (Xinhua/Shi Shouhe)
by Wu Bo
COPENHAGEN, Dec. 7 (Xinhua) -- The 2017 China-Denmark Tourism Year wrapped up with a gala closing ceremony in the Danish capital city of Copenhagen on Tuesday.
Some 1,000 people, including Denmark's Crown Prince Frederik, Chairman of China National Tourism Administration Li Jinzao, and Chinese Ambassador to Denmark Deng Ying attended the closing ceremony at the Royal Theater's Old Stage in downtown Copenhagen.
Officially launched in Beijing in February this year, the program aimed to boost travel and tourism between China and Denmark, which is the first country in Europe to celebrate a Tourism Year with China.
During the Tourism Year, a host of tourism exchange and cooperation events were staged, including "Lighten up Copenhagen", the promotion of the Tea Road, "Panda's Tour in Denmark" and China-Denmark Forum on Tourism Cooperation.
Speaking at the closing ceremony, Crown Prince Frederik said the event throughout the Tourism Year stand as a testimony to the strong relations between China and Denmark.
"The China-Denmark Tourism Year has created a great platform for meetings and exchanges at all levels of society," Frederik said, adding that "the new partnership established during the year is a strong indication of the continuous positive development in the relationship between China and Denmark."
In May this year, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang met with Danish Prime Minister Lars Loekke Rasmussen in China, where a plan was unveiled to deepen cooperation from 2017 to 2020 and agreed to expand two-way trade and investment.
Both sides identified agriculture, fisheries, food security, health and tourism as major areas for cooperation.
According to Li Jinzao, the Tourism Year has delivered the strong commitment made by the leadership of the two countries and has very pragmatic contents that also facilitate the cooperation of airlines, culture exchanges and financial development.
"Tourism is not only a culture exchange activity, but also an industry that connects people with destination countries and help the development of local economic growth, job creation and the improving of local people's livelihood," Li said.
For her part, Ambassador Deng said tourism is a bridge that links different cultures and enhances understanding between peoples.
She also quoted a Chinese saying that "One who travels knows far more," adding Danish author H.C. Andersen also had much the same feeling that translates into "To travel is to live".
Over the past few years, Denmark has witnessed a growing number of Chinese tourists. Figures show that Chinese tourists to Denmark quadrupled to about 200,000 in 2015 from only 50,000 in 2010.
"China-Denmark relationship is an important part of overall China-EU relationship... The successful conclusion of 'China-Denmark Tourism Year' is a new starting point to boost China-Denmark and China-EU cultural interactions," Deng said.
A Chinese folk concert was also staged after the closing remarks that features solo performances and folk music with various traditional Chinese musical instruments.