Huge flash mob near White House marks celebration of China-US Tourism Year

Updated: 2016-09-07 07:30

By Su Zhou and Yuan Yuan(China Daily)

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Huge flash mob near White House marks celebration of China-US Tourism Year

Martial arts teams from the US perform near the White House in Washington, DC, during the Super Flash Mob celebration marking the 2016 China-US Tourism Year. [Photo by Cai Chunying/China Daily]

A huge flash mob of nearly 1,000 wearing colorful costumes turned the Ellipse public lawn near the White House into a "blooming garden" on Monday to celebrate the 2016 China-US Tourism Year.

The "Super Flash Mob" celebration, held on Labor Day in the United States, featured 11 diverse groups performing activities that included martial arts, traditional Chinese opera, singing, instrument playing, dancing and gymnastics.

It was organized by the China National Tourist office in New York with help from the China America Friendship Association.

The groups took turns performing before gathering as a flash mob to shout "China go, US go" as a slogan at the end of the show.

When Karen Bernal passed by the Ellipse lawn with her friends, she was drawn to the performance, attracted by the costumes and the makeup.

"I've seen them on TV, but never in a live performance," she said. "It's like telling a story (of anther country)."

China and the US launched the 2016 China-US Tourism Year in March after an announcement by President Xi Jinping and US President Barack Obama during Xi's state visit to the US last September.

The aim is to increase travel and tourism between the two countries by enhancing the travel experience, increasing travelers' cultural understanding and expanding the appreciation of natural landscapes.

Since 2008, China and the US have become important sources for each other's inbound tourism market.

Last year, China became the fifth-largest source of foreign tourists to the US and is expected to become the largest by 2020. The US was the third-largest source of foreign tourists to China in the first half year.

The National Travel and Tourism Office of the United States said: "A decade ago, China ranked ninth in terms of total tourism-related spending in the United States. Now China ... injects nearly $74 million a day into the US economy."

Liu Simin, vice-president of the tourism branch of the Chinese Society for Futures Studies, said the meaning of the tourism year extends beyond tourism.

"Tourism exchanges between two countries can eliminate misunderstanding and build trust. Tourism can be an important force to forge world peace," Liu said.

Wu Bihu, secretary-general of the International Tourism Association, said China should upgrade its tourism services to attract tourists from the US.

"China is attractive to tourists from the US on two fronts. One is the natural landscape and culture and the other is business travel.

"We believe that China will replace the US and become the largest business travel market this year," Wu said. "To build an international tourism destination, China should have more innovative ideas."

Yuan Yuan in Washington contributed to this story.


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