Press release: “Beauty of Harmony – Picturesque Zhejiang 2022” –Inauguration event Zhejiang Culture and Tourism European office

De Warande, Brussels – November 15, 2022

The event “Beauty of Harmony – Picturesque Zhejiang 2022” was presented as part of inauguration of the European office of Zhejiang Culture and Tourism department. Opening seminar featured keynote address by H.E. Erik Solheim, former Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), H.E. Mr. Cao Zhongming, Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to Belgium, Ambassador (ret.) Piet Steel, Chairman of the Europe-Asia Center, Mr. Chu Ziyu, Director of the Zhejiang Provincial Department of Culture and Tourism, and prof. Greg Richards, a leading expert in the field of cultural and creative tourism.

Guests were welcomed by Matic Gajšek, Deputy Director of the Europe – Asia Center, who announced the official opening of Zhejiang Culture and Tourism European office. He emphasized the opportunities Zhejiang’s cultural and tourism offer poses for strengthening economic and cultural exchange between China and Europe in the post-epidemic era.

In the opening address, Ambassador (ret.) Piet Steel delivered a keynote speech in which he emphasized the important impact of tourism on revitalizing the economy, especially in the light of the global epidemic of the Covid-19. Moreover, the Zhejiang cultural tourism event means that China’s cultural industries, institutions, new platforms and organizational networks can build friendly bridges between China and Europe.

As a first guest keynote, H.E. Ambassador Cao Zhongming spoke about the significant impact of Zhejiang’s cultural tourism on China-Europe relations and welcomed the audience to experience Zhejiang. He emphasized the contribution Culture and Tourism Promotion Center in Europe will make for cultural and tourism collaboration, and most importantly promote mutual understanding between Zhejiang and Europe.

His excellency Erik Solheim introduced his rich personal experiences with Zhejiang and numerous visits to Hangzhou, which has been profoundly shaped with heritage of Song Yun culture. He shared several examples of environmental leadership, including the highest UN Environmental Award that has been awarded to the province for their significant work in protecting the natural ecosystems. He emphasized the need for stronger exchange and international collaboration in culture and tourism, in light of the post-pandemic recovery and sustainable growth.

As the expert contributor to this high-level event, prof. Greg Richards, who is the leading international authority in Cultural and Creative Tourism research, highlighted the progress and increasing significance of cultural tourism throughout the past decade. The new paradigm of cultural tourism, characterized by a shift from passive sightseeing to active living tourism, is offering both new opportunities and re-defining cultural consumption patterns. Hangzhou’s experience illustrates how cities are building cultural and creative centers based on their cultural heritage and broadening the prospects for tourism.

The “Picturesque Zhejiang 2022: Culture and Tourism Promotion Center in Europe” was established by the Zhejiang Provincial Department of Culture and Tourism and the Europe-Asia Center, which represents a new stage and level of economic and cultural exchange and cooperation between Europe and China. The establishment and development of “Picturesque Zhejiang 2022: Culture and Tourism Promotion Center in Europe” will carry out targeted research and survey on the European tourism market as well as develop and promotion of corresponding tourism products.

Photo credit: Europe – Asia Center, 2022                                                                                                                                                   

For press enquiries:

Matic Gajšek, Deputy director Europe – Asia Center E-mail: m.gajsek(at)europe-asia.org