November 13, 2009
GUANGZHOU: A high profile concert tonight will mark the official opening of the 2009 Guangdong International Tourism and Culture Festival and will feature a number of surprise celebrities, according to the event's organizers.
The show will be staged at the central stadium in Guangzhou University Town and include performances from Song Zuying, a famous Chinese soprano, Super Junior, a South Korean boy band and the Swedish singing star, Sibel. Bands from Sweden, Denmark, Japan, South Korea, Chile, Russia and Syria will also be on hand to entertain the audience.
Highlighting Cantonese culture, the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China and the city's hosting of the 2010 Asian Games, the festival has been designed as a clarion call for visitors from across the world to explore the beauty of this southern China province.
Held from November 13 to 19, alongside the Pan-Pearl River Delta Tourism Promotion Convention, the festival has been jointly organized by the National Tourism Administration and the Guangdong provincial government.
A particular highlight of this year's event is said to be the annual parade. Marching from Liuhua Road to Renminbei Road, Huanshi Road, Dabei Overpass, Tianhe Overpass and all the way back, the march will begin at 8 pm on November 14, 10 am on November 15 and 8 pm on the same day. The parade's exotic floats can also be seen at the Canton Fair Liuhua complex between November 14 and 17.
The 37 floats in the parade are drawn from the 21 cities of Guangdong, as well as seven other provinces. Other participants include Hong Kong, Macao, Vietnam, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, as well as a number of the foreign sister cities of Guangzhou and the organizing committee of the 2010 Guangzhou Asian Games.
As a pioneer of China's reform and opening-up policy over the past three decades, Guangdong has been relentless in expanding its cooperation with the tourism sectors of other countries and regions.
The province has pushing forward its cooperation with foreign sister territories and states since 1979, when Australia's New South Wales became its first such partner. Guandong and its constituent cities have now established ties with 85 sister provinces, states and cities.
Over recent years, Guangdong has entered into framework agreements with a number of countries in Southeast Asia for cooperation in the tourism sector. It has also signed letters of intent relating to tourism cooperation projects, involving a pledged investment of $390 million.
It is now actively building up its tourism ties with a number of American and European countries.
Against the background of a recovering Chinese economy and deepening cooperation in the international arena, the province now plans to actively explore regional tourism cooperation and the internationalization of its tourism market, resources and brands.
Guangdong is one of the most successful Chinese provinces in terms of tourism, partly due to its proximity to the Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions.
It has also recorded a number of firsts in the development of the tourism industry in China.
The city of Shenzhen, set in the south of the province, was the first in the country to adopt a limited 72-hour visa free travel service back in 1994.
The province also started a trial on a limited 144-hour visa free travel service in 2000, again a national first.
It was a pioneer in allowing residents to travel to Hong Kong and Macao on an individual basis.
The Huanggang checkpoint in Shenzhen became the first in the country to provide a 24-hour service in 2003.
The White Swan Hotel in Guangzhou was the country's first Sino-foreign hotel.
In 2007, the National Tourism Administration issued a notice regarding the launch of a trial on the establishment of Hong Kong and Macao-funded travel agencies.
Guangdong is the ancestral hometown of more than 30 million overseas Chinese. A truly prosperous province, it is the home of many of China's outbound travelers and of students studying broad. These factors have all contributed to the huge growth of the tourism sector in the province.
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