The Silk Road rediscovered

Updated: 2014-06-06 11:50

By Hu Haidan in New York (China Daily USA)

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 The Silk Road rediscovered

Xiong Shanhua (left), deputy director general of the international communication and cooperation department of the China National Tourism Administration, and Xue Yaping, director of China National Tourist Office in New York, posted for a photo at 2014 "Rediscover the Silk Road @ Beautiful China" promotion event in New York City on Thursday. Hu Haidan / China Daily

China welcomed 2.08 million travelers from the US in 2013, the fourth-largest international group behind South Koreans, Japanese and Russians, according to China National Tourist Administration (CNTA) data.

And when most North American travelers visit China, they go to big cities like Beijing, Shanghai and Xi'an.

But according to Xiong Shanhua, China National Tourist Administration (CNTA) deputy director general of international communication and cooperation, there are many more interesting tourism routes awaiting travelers to China - and the Silk Road is one of them.

To let more tourism agencies, destination magazines and airlines know about the Silk Road, CNTA hosted a promotional event "Rediscover the Silk Road @ Beautiful China" in New York City on Thursday.

The Silk Road has accompanied 5,000 years of Chinese culture and history. It originated in Asia and ran for about 4,000 miles through the entire Eurasian continent, bridging Eastern and Western civilizations and Asian and European economies, politics, culture and ideologies for centuries.

It is a series of trade and cultural transmission routes that were central to cultural interaction through regions of the Asian continent by linking traders, merchants and monks from China to the Mediterranean.

Xiong said the Silk Road was not only about silk and porcelain.

"It was born in China, but was also in essence a dialogue between Eastern and Western civilizations," said Xiong. "Because of it, international trade began; friendship between people developed."

"The Silk Road has experienced a vigorous revival based on the rapid growth of China's foreign trade and cultural exchanges. We hope that rediscovering the Silk Road will build tighter relationships between China and Western countries," he added.

Chinese tourism promotional group representatives at the event were from provinces along the Silk Road, including Ningxia, Qinghai, Shanxi, Tibet, Inner Mongolia, Shanghai and Henan.

Yang Tongde, vice-director of the municipal commission of tourism development from Luoyang, the capital city of Henan province, said they are set up to welcome foreign travelers.

"Henan is a historical province in China. The Silk Road starts here. Also three out of eight ancient capitals are in Henan," Yang said. "We are looking forward to more and more foreign tourists to our beautiful province."

Douglas Cooke, representative from JAXFAX Travel Marketing said some of the destinations are fascinating.

"I talked to people from several promotional booths. The travel information they showed me are so amazing," Cooke said. "I haven't had the chance to travel to China yet, but now I feel that I have to."

"Beautiful China", a campaign started by CNTA in 2013, promotes Chinese tourism and has distributed a new logo through many international media outlets around the world.