BEIJING: The month-long annual fourth Silk Road (Dunhuang) International Cultural Expo and the ninth Dunhuang Tour-Silk Road International Tourism Festival started with a grand joint opening ceremony featuring stunning cultural performances in Gannan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, northwest China’s Gansu Province.
The performances with unique local cultural characteristics, local traditional dances and horse performance mesmerized the audience coming from home and abroad at the opening ceremony.
More than 6,500 local artists and 700 horses participated in the exquisite performance, which drew appreciation from the spectators.
Both events scheduled to continue for a month are aimed to promote people-to-people exchanges and integrate culture with tourism along the Silk Road.
As many as 23 themed activities would be held during the expo and the festival, which will host its closing ceremony in Gansu’s Dunhuang city on August 31.
Luo Shugang, China’s minister of culture and tourism, delivered a keynote speech and pointed out that due to joint efforts made by various parties, positive results have been seen in the cultural and tourism exchanges and cooperation among the countries involved in the Belt and Road Initiative, with the vision turning into reality.
In recent years, Gansu Province has made significant strides in developing the cultural tourism industry.
In the first half of the year, the province has received 160 million tourists and saw a tourism revenue of more than 113 billion yuan (about 16.4 billion U.S. dollars), an increase of 25.6 percent and 31 percent respectively, as compared to last year.
A total number of 800 guests from over 30 countries, including Luo Shugang, China’s minister of culture and tourism; Tserenbat Namsrai, minister of the Ministry of Environment and Tourism of Mongolia; and Zhu Shanzhong, executive director of The United Nations World Tourism Organization attended the opening ceremony.
The expo and festival this year would be following President Xi Jinping’s proposal to jointly move forward the “Belt and Road” blueprint and work on improving the development of the Belt and Road Initiative.
Jointly sponsored by the Gansu Provincial People’s Government, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, the National Radio and Television Administration and China Council for the Promotion of International Trade, the previous three sessions of the event took place in Dunhuang in 2016, 2017 and 2018.