HANGZHOU, March 6 (Xinhua) -- East China's Zhejiang Province has kicked off a five-year tourism promotion program that plans to send 10,000 travelers to African countries, local authorities said.
"Tourism is the least disputed and most effective area of international cooperation," said Chu Ziyu, director of cultural and tourism bureau of Zhejiang.
Chu said the program will play a positive role in deepening bilateral relations between China and Africa, and can also promote a deeper understanding between peoples of the two places.
A number of African countries have signed up for the program, according to the bureau. Djibouti, Tanzania and Zimbabwe have been selected as the destinations for the inaugural group of 300 tourists scheduled to visit Africa in May.
"Last year, Zimbabwe only received 11,439 Chinese tourists, way less than many African countries. As a country with rich tourist resources, Zimbabwe needs to do more to change this," said Priscah Mupfumira, minister of environment, tourism and hospitality of Zimbabwe.
Lusekelo Gwassa, the economic counselor at the Tanzanian embassy in China, hailed the program as a tangible step to implement the outcome of the Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation held last year.