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Exploring the ‘Cities of Charm’ in China and ASEAN

China2017-09-13

With its unique and spectacular landscapes, tranquil and sun-kissed beaches, lush jungles with vibrant wildlife and towering mountains, Southeast Asia has won the hearts of Chinese tourists. ASEAN countries have turned into a tropical paradise for passionate photographers and storytellers with an appetite for unforgettable sights, lip-smacking cuisine and friendly faces – so it's no surprise that Chinese tourists love to visit. The booming relations between China and ASEAN countries are best reflected in their flourishing tourism links. China has by now become ASEAN’s largest source of tourists, according to Yang Xiuping, secretary-general of ASEAN-China Center (ACC). In 2015, the number of Chinese tourists to ASEAN countries surged to 17.09 million. In 2016, China’s outbound tourists to ASEAN hit a record high of 19.8 million. Both sides enjoy promising tourism relations as China has set a target to achieve 30 million mutual visits by 2020. The tourism industry has greatly benefited from favorable visa policies and rapid expansion of direct flights serving China and ASEAN countries. At present there are about 2,700 flights per week connecting the two sides. The downtown scene in Nanning, capital of south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. The 14th China-ASEAN Expo will be held between Sept. 12 and 15 in Nanning. 2017 has been designated as the China-ASEAN Year of Tourism Cooperation. As the main theme of the annual China-ASEAN Expo, which opens on September 12 in the southern Chinese city of Nanning, 11 “Cities of Charm” from China and the 10 ASEAN member countries have been chosen to act as representative cities. These cities will show their country's unique selling points and further the promotion of people-to-people exchanges between China and ASEAN nations, enhancing the reputation and competitiveness of these gems - some hidden, some not - on the international stage. Infographics list 11 “Cities of Charm” for the 14th CAEXPO Let's take a look at some of this year’s selection: Along the Maritime Silk Road: Ningbo, China The coastal city of Ningbo is located in the eastern Chinese province of Zhejiang. Ningbo has no shortage of culture as it boasts 1,200 years of history, including links to the ancient Maritime Silk Road. Today, relics from the route, that was once crammed with ships from civilizations near and far, can still be found in the city, including the Yongfeng warehouse, a significant trading port that operated from the Southern Song to the Ming dynasties. In 2013, China proposed the revival of the ancient Silk Road through the Belt and Road Initiative, bringing the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road into existence. Ningbo continues its mission of building a trade and infrastructure network that connects Asia with Europe, Africa and beyond. Ningbo, east China's Zhejiang Province. “Venice of the East”: Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei Bandar Seri Begawan is the capital city of Brunei and is divided into two geographic terrains: The stilted water villages that make up the city's historic aquatic districts and the dry districts which spread out over the land. The capital houses the biggest water village in the world, Kampong Ayer, which is also known as the “Venice of the East”. By taking a water taxi or walking along the wooden boardwalks and bridges that connect the 1,300-year-old floating villages, one can enjoy a traditional way of life, as lived local by fishermen and craftspeople. Kampong Ayer, Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei. Ocean exploration: Indonesian Archipelago, Indonesia Indonesia has the world's biggest archipelago with innumerable islands that manage to be both strikingly beautiful and challenge one’s ability to keep count of or remember names of them all. More than 17,500 different islands stretch over 5,200km from Sumatra in the northwest to Papua in the southeast forming a huge crescent, stretching from the Indian Ocean to the South Pacific. Each island has its own allure and charm and these following photos show some of the most gorgeous islands. They are some of the world’s best diving destinations, and even if you don't want to get wet, have exotic cultures that are well worth a visit. Tanah Lot temple, island of Bali, Indonesia. "Elephant Festival": Xayaboury Province, Laos The mountainous Xayaboury Province is located in the northwest of Laos, with abundances of timber and lignite, thanks to its dense tropical forests. Village on the bank of the Mekong River, Xayaboury Province, Laos. The province also has the largest population of elephants in the country and holds the annual "Elephant Festival," which attracts thousands of tourists, greatly developing the local area. People ride elephants in a parade during an Elephant Festival in Xayaboury Province, Laos. Singapore: stunning, futuristic skyline As one of Asia’s most famous destinations, Singapore, attracts visitors with its must-see futuristic architecture, green urban spaces, and the Merlion statue: A mythical creature with a lion’s head and the tail of a fish, which acts as a landmark for the thousands of tourists visiting the nearby Marina Bay Sands SkyPark. The Merlion statue at Merlion Park , Singapore. The Singapore Flyer is also not to be missed, as the giant ferris wheel offers breathtaking views of the skyline and the historical landmarks along the Singapore River. The Singapore Flyer. Much has changed in the region's tourism landscape since the ASEAN community was established 50 years ago. Since its launch at the 2nd CAEXPO, the "City of Charm" pavilion has aimed to showcase the cooperative opportunities of participating cities in China and ASEAN, not only in terms of tourism, but also culture, economics, education, technology and much more. This year’s tourism theme at CAEXPO also presents exhibitors from local and regional tourism services with an opportunity to display their distinctive tourist spots and attractions, further deepening the understanding and friendship between both sides and extending the bilateral cooperation from city to national level. Poster of the 14th China-ASEAN Expo Whether you are a sightseer, an adventurer, a foodie, or simply looking to unwind under the sun, China and the ASEAN countries definitely have something for you. (CGTN)

With its unique and spectacular landscapes, tranquil and sun-kissed beaches, lush jungles with vibrant wildlife and towering mountains, Southeast Asia has won the hearts of Chinese tourists.

ASEAN countries have turned into a tropical paradise for passionate photographers and storytellers with an appetite for unforgettable sights, lip-smacking cuisine and friendly faces – so it's no surprise that Chinese tourists love to visit.

The booming relations between China and ASEAN countries are best reflected in their flourishing tourism links. China has by now become ASEAN’s largest source of tourists, according to Yang Xiuping, secretary-general of ASEAN-China Center (ACC). In 2015, the number of Chinese tourists to ASEAN countries surged to 17.09 million.

In 2016, China’s outbound tourists to ASEAN hit a record high of 19.8 million. Both sides enjoy promising tourism relations as China has set a target to achieve 30 million mutual visits by 2020.

The tourism industry has greatly benefited from favorable visa policies and rapid expansion of direct flights serving China and ASEAN countries.

At present there are about 2,700 flights per week connecting the two sides.

The downtown scene in Nanning, capital of south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. The 14th China-ASEAN Expo will be held between Sept. 12 and 15 in Nanning.

The downtown scene in Nanning, capital of south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. The 14th China-ASEAN Expo will be held between Sept. 12 and 15 in Nanning.

2017 has been designated as the China-ASEAN Year of Tourism Cooperation. As the main theme of the annual China-ASEAN Expo, which opens on September 12 in the southern Chinese city of Nanning, 11 “Cities of Charm” from China and the 10 ASEAN member countries have been chosen to act as representative cities.

These cities will show their country's unique selling points and further the promotion of people-to-people exchanges between China and ASEAN nations, enhancing the reputation and competitiveness of these gems - some hidden, some not - on the international stage.

Infographics list 11 “Cities of Charm” for the 14th CAEXPO

Infographics list 11 “Cities of Charm” for the 14th CAEXPO

Let's take a look at some of this year’s selection:

Along the Maritime Silk Road: Ningbo, China

The coastal city of Ningbo is located in the eastern Chinese province of Zhejiang. Ningbo has no shortage of culture as it boasts 1,200 years of history, including links to the ancient Maritime Silk Road.

Today, relics from the route, that was once crammed with ships from civilizations near and far, can still be found in the city, including the Yongfeng warehouse, a significant trading port that operated from the Southern Song to the Ming dynasties.

In 2013, China proposed the revival of the ancient Silk Road through the Belt and Road Initiative, bringing the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road into existence. Ningbo continues its mission of building a trade and infrastructure network that connects Asia with Europe, Africa and beyond.

Ningbo, east China's Zhejiang Province.

Ningbo, east China's Zhejiang Province.

“Venice of the East”: Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei

Bandar Seri Begawan is the capital city of Brunei and is divided into two geographic terrains: The stilted water villages that make up the city's historic aquatic districts and the dry districts which spread out over the land.

The capital houses the biggest water village in the world, Kampong Ayer, which is also known as the “Venice of the East”. By taking a water taxi or walking along the wooden boardwalks and bridges that connect the 1,300-year-old floating villages, one can enjoy a traditional way of life, as lived local by fishermen and craftspeople.

Kampong Ayer, Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei.

Kampong Ayer, Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei.

Ocean exploration: Indonesian Archipelago, Indonesia

Indonesia has the world's biggest archipelago with innumerable islands that manage to be both strikingly beautiful and challenge one’s ability to keep count of or remember names of them all.

More than 17,500 different islands stretch over 5,200km from Sumatra in the northwest to Papua in the southeast forming a huge crescent, stretching from the Indian Ocean to the South Pacific.

Each island has its own allure and charm and these following photos show some of the most gorgeous islands.

They are some of the world’s best diving destinations, and even if you don't want to get wet, have exotic cultures that are well worth a visit.

Tanah Lot temple, island of Bali, Indonesia.

Tanah Lot temple, island of Bali, Indonesia.

"Elephant Festival": Xayaboury Province, Laos

The mountainous Xayaboury Province is located in the northwest of Laos, with abundances of timber and lignite, thanks to its dense tropical forests.

Village on the bank of the Mekong River, Xayaboury Province, Laos.

Village on the bank of the Mekong River, Xayaboury Province, Laos.

The province also has the largest population of elephants in the country and holds the annual "Elephant Festival," which attracts thousands of tourists, greatly developing the local area.

People ride elephants in a parade during an Elephant Festival in Xayaboury Province, Laos.

People ride elephants in a parade during an Elephant Festival in Xayaboury Province, Laos.

Singapore: stunning, futuristic skyline

As one of Asia’s most famous destinations, Singapore, attracts visitors with its must-see futuristic architecture, green urban spaces, and the Merlion statue: A mythical creature with a lion’s head and the tail of a fish, which acts as a landmark for the thousands of tourists visiting the nearby Marina Bay Sands SkyPark.

The Merlion statue at Merlion Park , Singapore.

The Merlion statue at Merlion Park , Singapore.

The Singapore Flyer is also not to be missed, as the giant ferris wheel offers breathtaking views of the skyline and the historical landmarks along the Singapore River.

The Singapore Flyer.

The Singapore Flyer.

Much has changed in the region's tourism landscape since the ASEAN community was established 50 years ago. Since its launch at the 2nd CAEXPO, the "City of Charm" pavilion has aimed to showcase the cooperative opportunities of participating cities in China and ASEAN, not only in terms of tourism, but also culture, economics, education, technology and much more.

This year’s tourism theme at CAEXPO also presents exhibitors from local and regional tourism services with an opportunity to display their distinctive tourist spots and attractions, further deepening the understanding and friendship between both sides and extending the bilateral cooperation from city to national level.

 Poster of the 14th China-ASEAN Expo

Poster of the 14th China-ASEAN Expo

Whether you are a sightseer, an adventurer, a foodie, or simply looking to unwind under the sun, China and the ASEAN countries definitely have something for you.

(CGTN)

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