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罗林泉总领事在中美旅游年旅游合作与旅行安全工作座谈会的讲话
2016/08/03

  Honorable California State Assemblyman Mr. Kansen Chu,

  Ms. Cynthia IP from National Park Services

  Mr. Garret Tom, Deputy Chief of San Francisco Police Department

  Ms. Hanah Lau and Mr. Joseph Herreria of US Customs and Border Protection

  Mrs. Teresa O' Neill from Oregon Tourism Commission

  Friends from Chinese Tourism Office in Los Angeles, US-China Association of Personnel Exchange, Bay Area Association of Chinese Business, travel agencies, Chinese community and the media,

  It gives me a great pleasure to have you here for a workshop on tourism cooperation and travel safety in the China-US Tourism Year. On behalf of the Chinese Consulate General in San Francisco, I'd like to express my warmest welcome to all of you.

  As you may know, during the state visit to the US last September by Chinese President Xi Jinping, he and President Obama jointly announced to set the year of 2016 as the China-US Tourism Year.

  The Tourism Year not only deepens travelers’ understanding of natural landscapes, culture and fosters people-to- people exchanges between our two great nations, but also plays as a key pillar of our economic growth. According to the US Department of Commerce, travel and tourism is the largest services export of the US, generating nearly $220 billion each year and supporting more than 1.1 million US jobs.

  Being the two biggest economies in the world, Our two countries'; economic cooperation has broad prospects and enormous potential. Last year, our bilateral trade hit $598 billion and China is now the U.S.'s largest trade partner. Among all the 50 states, California plays a leading role in exchanges and cooperation with China. Bilateral trade volume between China and California reached 157.9 billion in 2015, accounting for 26% of China-US trade volume.

  The US tourism industry is embracing a tide of Chinese travelers. In 2015, 2.5 million Chinese traveled to the US, making China the 4th largest source country of foreign travelers to the US. With the boost of the China-US Tourism Year, Chinese travelers are expected to reach 3 million this year. On each and every day, more than 15,000 people are flying over the Pacific Ocean. There is one flight taking off or landing between China and the U.S. every 17 minutes.

  For all of our guests and friends present today, it is very important to know that San Francisco, Seattle, Las Vegas, L.A., Yosemite, Crater Lake, Grand Canyon, Yellowstone and many more, are among the top US tour destinations for Chinese travelers. Without the great help from the US Custom and Border Protection, National Park Services, police at all levels, travel associations and commissions, Chinese community leaders, volunteers and many others, Chinese travelers will not be satisfied with their trips to those destinations.

  Besides economic and tourist boom, China-US educational exchange is also thriving. About 360,000 Chinese students are now studying in the US. From UC Berkeley to Stanford, from Oregon State to Washington University in Seattle, you can see a great number of Chinese students.

  But there is always worry in happiness. While pleased with China-US tourism development, we have worry and concern on Chinese travelers' safety.

  Safety is an indispensable precondition for travel and tourism. More than any other economic activity, a successful overseas tour takes efforts first and foremost of the travelers and then of all the organization you represent today. Look at France, a series of terrorist attacks in Paris and Nice greatly hit the country's tourism industry. A recent 26-people- death bus accident in Taiwan of China badly hurt its reputation among mainland Chinese tourists.

  In recent years, incidents and accidents involving Chinese travelers in the US are on the rise, from travel accidents to terrorist attacks, from crimes to rampant shootings. One Chinese college student was listed among the 3 deaths at Boston Marathon bombing in 2013. People also have a fresh memory of a South Korean airplane crash in San Francisco International Airport in 2013, which killed 3 Chinese high school students and injured another 180 passengers.

  Every month, a dozen of cases of Chinese traveler and student casualty are reported to our Consulate General, not to mention more cases of robbery, burglary and other incidents. It is bad that in many cases, the victims are young Chinese students in their 20's.

  To serve and protect our overseas citizens is our Consulate General's primary task. When a fatal incident happens, we share the pain with the parents who have lost their beloved. We feel a sense of urgency. It is time to for us to pay greater attention on travel safety.

  In our consulate, one consul is exclusively designated to consular protection, with more consuls of education, culture, commerce and overseas Chinese affairs assisting. They're busy with answering emergency calls, dealing with cases and comforting the victim families.

  But it is not enough for us to act alone. We need the assistance and cooperation of US federal and state governments, law enforcement departments, tourism industry, Chinese community and media. That is the reason why our Consulate General hosts this workshop and invites you here today.

  I hope through today's workshop, we can improve our consular protection, strengthen our cooperation with US partners to better serve travelers, and most important, raise awareness of travel safety among travel industry and travelers. Not only that, your participation also gives us an opportunity to better understand how we can help you, US federal and local, executive and legislature, public and business and etc, with respect to tourism cooperation and travel safety. We are ready to work with you.

  Thank you for attending this workshop. I believe, with our joint efforts, we can push our tourism cooperation and travel safety to a new level so as to make our own unique contributions to our bilateral relations.

  Thank you.

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