An event for the new initiative "Beautiful China - Journey Along the World Heritage" that seeks to promote China's 52 UNESCO World Heritage sites to tourists from the United States was held recently. "From the iconic Great Wall in Beijing to Fujian province's Kulangsu Settlement, the newest 2017 addition to UNESCO World Cultural Heritage, China boasts a long list of must-see attractions," said Wang Xiaofeng, vice chairman of the China National Tourism Administration at the event held in downtown San Francisco, in the US state of California.
Kulangsu, or better known as Gulangyu island in China, is a pedestrian-only island off the coast of Xiamen, Fujian province in southeastern China. It is renowned for its beaches, winding lanes and varied architecture.
Luo Linquan, consul general of China's Consulate-General in San Francisco, said tourism is an effective way to expand friendship between China and the United States, adding that about 5.32 million people from both countries visited each side in 2016, up 12 percent over the previous year.
"The US has now become China's third-largest source of tourists, with an average 2.1 million people visiting China annually," he said.
More than 3 million Chinese tourists visited the United States in 2016, making it the fourth-largest destination market of China, Luo added.
The promotion campaign was joined by delegates from an unprecedented 18 provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions in China.