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Sino-Italian move on tourism hopes to attract more Chinese explorers

By Liu Xuan | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2018-07-17 19:53

The new cooperation on tourism between China and Italy will lure more Chinese tourists to central and southern Italy and help them to understand the country's different areas, according to the Italian ambassador to China.

Four regions of Italy – Calabria, Campania, Puglia and Umbria – and China International Travel Service started a comprehensive collaboration on Monday in Beijing to further promote local travel resources and meet the changing needs of Chinese tourists.

Ambassador Ettore Francesco Sequi said in his speech that Italy attaches great importance to tourism cooperation with China, especially in recent years as the two countries have worked together frequently.

He said an increasing number of Chinese tourists are paying more attention to the quality of traveling abroad, while Italy is an ideal partner as it has a wealth of natural and cultural resources and can meet the needs of different groups of people.

Sequi said that Chinese travelers are now more interested in exploring non-traditional spots in Italy and want to get a feel for local specialties rather than only visiting destinations like Rome and Milan. “While these four regions will be able to provide a unique experience for Chinese tourists,” he said.

Yu Ningning, head of China International Travel Service, said she hopes through the new plan the two sides could deepen the promotion of in-depth and quality tours, so that more Chinese tourists can truly understand Italy in terms of history, culture and art.

“Back in 2000, the routine of Chinese tourists who went abroad was taking pictures, shopping, and rushing during the day. But now people's travel patterns have changed fundamentally,” she said.

Representatives from the four regions also introduced their unique travel and cultural resources.

Calabria, in southwest Italy, occupies the "toe" of the country’s boot-shaped peninsula and is believed to be the birthplace of ancient Mediterranean civilization. There are many well-preserved ancient temples, statues and cylindrical buildings, as well as a large number of palm trees and giant cacti that are rare in the Mediterranean. Calabria is rich in bergamot, pepper and historic craftsmanship.

Also in southwestern Italy, Campania is known for its ancient ruins and dramatic coastline, where tourists can find myths, legends, anecdotes, as well as famous spots like Pompeii, Mount Vesuvius and Capri. Naples, the birthplace of pizza, and the Amalfi Coast Highway, known as one of the top 10 most beautiful driving routes in the world, are also in this region.

Puglia, a southern region forming the heel of Italy’s “boot”, is one of the richest archaeological areas, with three UNESCO world heritage sites preserving the Romanesque churches left by the Normans and the Baroque buildings left by the Spaniards. Puglia's 800 km coastline is longer than that of any other mainland Italian region.

Often called the country’s “green heart", Umbria is located in the middle of Italy and is the only Italian region having neither a coastline nor a border with other countries. It is known for its medieval hill towns, dense forests and local cuisine, particularly foraged truffles and wines.

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