The 11th Beijing International Tourism Festival opening ceremony kicked off at the Olympic green on Friday, drawing together performance groups and artists from 71 countries and 18 districts and counties in and around Beijing.
60 drum players are standing at the sightseeing boulevard of the Olympic Park, waiting for the opening of the 11th Beijing International Tourism Festival, on October 23, 2009. [Photo: CRIENGLISH.com]
25 floats representing different aspects of travel and life in Beijing acted as mobile name cards for international friends, according to Beijing's Deputy Mayor Ding Xiangyang, adding they represent a new focus for tourism in this ancient cultural and historical city.
Ding also believes Beijing's tourism industry will emerge as a pillar industry and help boost the capital's economy, in spite of the recent international financial turmoil. The BITF is aiming to build itself into an international brand much like the Pamplona Bull-run Fiesta, the Munich Oktoberfest and the Brazilian Carnival. The drum is also being showcased to demonstrate and represent China's long history and culture.
According to Ding Xiangyang, Beijing's total number of tourists amounted to 126 million people, an increase of 19.96% over the same period last year, while income from tourism reached 186.2 billion yuan, or $27.2 billion US Dollars, an increase of 16.5%.
Wang Zhifa, the deputy director of the national tourism bureau says this year's tourism carnival presented the Beijing's travel industry's new post-Olympic image, while also paying tribute to the 60th anniversary of the People's Republic of China.
An impressive drum performance marked the prelude of this year's tourism festival, with 60 Chinese traditional drummers kicking off the ceremony, while sending their birthday wishes to the motherland. Female drum players and water splash drummers also brought the drum performances to a climax.
Following the drum performance was an eye-catching parade of floats featuring Beijing's famous scenic spots. The Forbidden City, Beihai Park, the Summer Palace, the Bird's Nest, Shichahai and Happy Valley were all represented as they gracefully moved along the boulevard. Each float was led by an elegant model dressed in special attire with elements of the scenic spots represented.
Park Su-Ho, an assembly member from the Economy & Investment Committee of the Republic of Korea is the leader of their delegation. They showcased a fantastic tae kwon do performance during the opening ceremony along with their traditional folk dance.
"This is the first time we've been in China. Beijing is very tidy and beautiful, we feel proud to take part in this tourism festival and we hope the Chinese people liked our performance."
"We've been invited a few months ago. And we are very proud to be here. It's a huge country in comparison of Belgium." says Genevieve Birabre from Belgium delegation.
"Very impressive for us to be here. We are new to learn different culture and different way of eating."
The 45 people Belgium group have visited the Great Wall, the Temple of Heaven, the Forbidden City, etc. in the past few days and left good impression of China’s capital city.
"I like all the sightseeing in Beijing, because they are nicely preserved." Genevieve adds.
The three day festival concluded at Happy Valley on Sunday. Over the weekend the main exhibition venue around the Olympic park displayed Beijing's rich tourism resources found across its 18 districts and counties, while at the same time visitors appreciated splendid exotic performances from international artists.
A young girl dressing in the Beijing Opera suit from the delegation of Beijing Xicheng District is practicing in front of the Bird’s Nest, ahead of the big opening ceremony. [Photo: CRIENGLISH.com]