On the afternoon of June 11, local time, at the renowned historical Moroccan city of Casablanca, a crowd of several hundred tourists and local residents gathered inside the Tachfine Center shopping complex. What captured their attention were the irresistibly adorable panda costumed character mascots, mind-blowing knowledge Q&A about the giant pandas, imaginative and creative panda paintings…the on-site atmosphere was warm with passion and many “liked” the event on social media. This was just a glimpse into the highlight reel of the 2018 “Beautiful Sichuan, More than Pandas” Sichuan Tourism Promotion Campaign in Morocco.
Various Panda Elements
Praises and Nods Garnered for Sichuan as a “Tourist Destination”
“Where is the home of the giant panda?” “What do the giant pandas eat?” “How many kilograms of food does a giant panda consume in one day?”… On-site at the event, the crowd of tourists and Casablanca local residents were active and eager in raising their hands and bombarded the host with all sorts of questions.
After a round of flash mob by panda costumed character mascots, inside the adjacent panda DIY painting zone, local art celebrities and the general populace energetically participated in the blank panda figurine creative painting activity. The most distinguished and imaginative artworks were rated live and presented with awards.
With giant panda as the carrier, at the event the displays of Sichuan’s wide range of idyllic landscapes and vibrant cultural traditions also captivated the visitors.
“So Sichuan is not only the home to the pandas, but also has many great sceneries and delicious foods”. Local “fans” of the giant panda expressed that Sichuan’s picturesque views and cultural features like Sichuan cuisine are very compelling, and thus Sichuan is a very worthy choice as a travel destination. Many attendees sought to obtain Sichuan tourism promo materials from the panda costumed character mascots.
Joint Construction of the “Belt and Road”
Tap into Cooperation Potentials in the Tourism Industry
2018 marks the 60th anniversary of the establishment of official diplomatic relations between China and Morocco. In recent years, the cordial and collaborative relations between the two nations have continued to make progress, and the cooperation and exchanges in the economic, trade and cultural sectors have also been continuously strengthened.
The bond between Sichuan and Morocco is also time-honored. As early as 2008, after the catastrophic and destructive Wenchuan Earthquake in Sichuan, leaders of Morocco called their Chinese counterparts to express condolences, followed by a donation of USD 1 million to the disaster-stricken region. In 2016, an agreement for the formation of international sister cities relations was signed between Sichuan capital Chengdu and the Moroccan city of Fez, and after the official establishment of sister cities relations the two parties have carried out diverse exchanges and cooperation in fields such as economy, trade, culture, education, tourism and ancient text preservation.
Activities held in the past year including the “2017 Tianfu Culture Week” in Morocco, “Enter China, Experience Chengdu” carnival and Chinese New Year temple festival, as well as this “Beautiful Sichuan, More than Pandas” Sichuan Tourism Promotion Campaign, have brought a myriad of exchanges and exhibitions of Sichuan cultural and tourism elements to Morocco.
As a natural partner in the joint construction of the “Belt and Road,” Morocco is similar to Sichuan in that it also has numerous “World Natural and Cultural Heritage” sites, and thus the two parties share vast potentials in collaborations and exchanges in international tourism. On June 12, local time, the Sichuan Tourism Marketing Group headed by Fu Yonglin, director of Sichuan Tourism Development Commission, paid a visit to the Fez Bureau of Tourism, where the Chinese visitors introduced and recommended Sichuan’s tourism resources and also invited the Fez Bureau of Tourism and local travel agencies to come to Sichuan so as to strengthen communication and partnership.
Promote Cultural Tourism Exchanges
Jointly Build Platforms for Pragmatic Cooperation
Not long ago, Fu Yonglin, director of Sichuan Tourism Development Commission, led the Sichuan Tourism Marketing Group to carry out multiple activities about the promotion of Sichuan tourism culture and trade and economy in Turkey. On June 8, Director Fu led the Group to pay a special visit to the Turkey Tourism Association, and communicated with Kalay, member of the Board of Directors and Berna Akar, director of the Foreign Affairs Department. Both sides introduced their tourism characteristics and resource products respectively, and carried out deep exchanges on how to closely cooperate in areas like product creation, tourists outputting and integrated marketing by focusing on the “Belt and Road” strategy.
Ibrahim Halil Kalay, member of the Board of Directors of Turkey Tourism Association, said that with abundant and diversified tourism resources, Sichuan has great attraction for Turkey tourists. The Association is willing to build a platform of exchange and cooperation in tourism between the two sides, and intensity the publicity and promotion of Sichuan tourism, so as to promote pragmatic cooperation between enterprises from both sides and organize more tourists to travel to Sichuan.
Chen Hongtao, deputy general manager of Sichuan China International Travel Agency Co., Ltd., on behalf of the other three visiting tourism enterprises, expressed that they were willing to cooperate with the Turkey Entry & Exit Travel Agency for building a long-term friendly partnership and a bridge of friendship between the two sides.
The “Beautiful Sichuan, More than Pandas” Sichuan Tourism Promotion Campaign aims to leverage on the giant panda as its envoy in showcasing to the world Sichuan’s unique cultural and tourism resources, elevate Sichuan’s international fame, deepen exchanges between Sichuan and the rest of the world in culture, tourism, economy and trade, and promote multilateral interactions and collaborations. Since its inception this year, the “Beautiful Sichuan, More than Pandas” Sichuan Tourism Promotion Campaign has already been held in multiple nations such as Japan, Turkey and Morocco. The constituent activities of the campaign have been exciting and buzz-worthy, and Sichuan tourism, as symbolized by the giant panda, has grabbed the attention and interest of local tourism professionals, the general public and the media.