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1M Sino tourists, more trade partnerships seen

By: Aileen Garcia-Yap January 22,2017 - 10:23 PM
Chinese Consul General Shi Yong discusses his plans for the year and announces the resumption of visa services in Cebu in March this year. (CDN PHOTO/Christian Maningo)

Chinese Consul General Shi Yong discusses his plans for the year and announces the resumption of visa services in Cebu in March this year.
(CDN PHOTO/Christian Maningo)

The new Consul General of the People’s Republic of China is expecting at least 1 million Chinese tourists to visit the Philippines and more trade partnerships between the two countries this year.

With the enhanced relationships between both countries, Consul General Shi Yong said that this year would mark the start of more trading partnerships, sisterhood cities and a boost in the tourism industry.

Shi Yong said last year, China and the Philippines’ relationship witnessed impressive improvements and returned to the right track of good neighborly friendship and healthy development after President Rodrigo Duterte paid successful visits to China.

1 million tourist

In his speech during the Chinese New Year reception which the consular office hosted for the Cebu Chinese community on Friday, Shi Yong said that tourism is one of the industries where they see an immediate positive impact due to the healthy developments in the relationship between the two countries.

Shi Yong said they would be expecting more than 1 million Chinese tourists to visit the country this year.

“According to a report from one of China’s largest online travel agency, the Philippines is among the Chinese tourists’ top 10 overseas destination for the Chinese New Year. I think many of them choose to come to our beautiful Visayas islands. In fact, many local hotels are fully booked in this spring festival period,” he said.

He cited the opening of direct flights from mainland China to Cebu in 2016.

He also said that this year they are expecting to have regular or chartered flights to Cebu directly from almost 10 Chinese cities including Xiamen, Chengdu, Quanzhou, Fuzhou, Wenzhou, Wuhan, Wuxi, Tianjin, Xian and Beijing.

Last year, Shi Yong said that there were at least 500,000 Chinese, who visited the country.

With the improved relationship and connectivity, he said, having a million Chinese tourists visiting the country is not impossible.

Of the 500,000, at least 170,874 visited Central Visayas from January to September last year, which was an increase of 67.24 percent.

“Last year there were 10 million who visited Thailand. The Philippines can very well attract more Chinese tourists who love the islands, the beautiful sceneries, diving and snorkeling which you offer here,” he said.

Trade and Investments

Aside from tourism, Shi Yong also said there is an increased interest from Chinese companies to invest in the Philippines.

“In the last few months, our Consulate General has been busy receiving Chinese companies and delegations. Many exchange and cooperation programs are on the way,” he said.

Shi Yong said he is deeply impressed with the great passion of visiting Chinese companies and the local business community for cooperation opportunities.

In 2015, bilateral trade between China and the Philippines amounted to $17.646 billion. Of this, Philippines exports $6.175 billion to China and imports $11.471 billion. Chinese companies investments in the country in 2015 hit $1.455 billion.

Cebu

In Cebu, Shi Yong said he plans to establish more sisterhood cities like the existing sisterhood city relationship between Cebu City and other cities and provinces of China.

“Now what I should do is establish more connections between Cebu and various provinces and cities in China. I think that setup works and if we can setup more we can find out what each would like to pursue for partnerships,” he said.

Shi Yong said he would want to arrange more trade missions to have more Chinese companies come down to Cebu and meet with local businessmen to establish connections and partnerships.

Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) president Melanie Ng said the chamber is working closely with the Consul General on establishing more relationships with their counterparts in China.

“We are making sure we collaborate closely with Consul General Shi Yong and his economic team in making sure we are able to talk trade and investment opportunities for Cebu. In the past several weeks, we’ve had meetings with various groups from China to discuss possibilities,” she said.

Ng said that they were also planning a trade mission to China on September to attend the China-Asean Expo in Nanning, Guangxi.

Similarly, Shi Yong said he also would like to invite more local government officials and businessmen to also visit China to check out and tap opportunities.

He said that China remains a sustained powerful engine for global economic stability and expansion.

He said that last year China contributed more than 30 percent to global growth.

He also added that in the coming five years, China would be – expected to import $8 trillion of goods, attract $600 billion of foreign investments, make $750 billion of outbound investments and Chinese tourists will make 700 million overseas visits.

He said all these would create more business opportunities for other countries including the Philippines.

“2017 is the year of the Rooster. The Chinese think that roosters are confident, diligent, brave and energetic; thus, 2017 is seen as a year full of vitality and progress. In this important year, let us put in more efforts in work with our sleeves rolled up,” he said.

Shi Yong ended his speech announcing the resumption of their visa services in Cebu on March this year.

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