BC promotes eco-tourism in China

Updated: 2014-12-12 00:23

By WANG RU in Beijing(China Daily Canada)

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BC promotes eco-tourism in China

Thrill-seeking tourists close in on a brown bear in the Great Bear Rainforest. Provided to CHINA DAILY

A photography exhibition featuring the wildlife of British Columbia — Canada's westernmost province — was held on Nov 26 at the Canadian Embassy in Beijing.

Xi Zhinong, one of the leading wildlife photographers and conservationist in China, took the pictures during his two-week trip in British Columbia in August.

British Columbia and the Canadian Embassy co-hosted the event to promote the province's eco-tourism to the Chinese tourism market.

From the mysterious Kermode bear wandering in the woods of the Great Bear Rainforest and thousands of salmon jumping out of Adams River, to paddling alongside orcas, Xi's lens captured stunning moments of wildlife in British Columbia.

"Everyone yearns for magnificent nature and stunning animals," said Xi. "There are endless seas and forests in British Columbia. Various animals, including black bears, grizzly bears, whales, bald eagles and salmon can be found everywhere. In British Columbia, you can see the world as it first appeared."

In collaboration with the Canada Tourism Commission, Vancouver International Airport and Target Magazine, Xi and Zhang Xingsheng, chief representative of The Nature Conservancy Asia-Pacific Region — who as an environmental ambassador was also invited to explore the eco-tourism British Columbia has — shared their experiences with media as well as their opinions on environmental protection and eco-tourism.

During the trip, they went hiking and canoeing in Kootenay Rockies, sipped wine in Okanagan, watched bears in Great Bear Rainforest, went salmon fishing and salmon diving in Campbell River, and explored the art and culture of the First Nations.

"British Columbia balances eco-protection with economic development," said Zhang. "The province's natural resources provide the foundation for social development and the well-being of the people, which is a good interpretation of the traditional Chinese philosophy of ‘unity of man and nature'.

"Most outbound Chinese tourists are still used to the style of hurried travel, of shopping and taking pictures, but a growing number of tourists are beginning to demand diverse traveling experiences abroad now," said Zhang, also an entrepreneur based in Beijing.

"The high-end traveling doesn't only mean first class flight and five-star hotel, but also in-depth understanding of the local culture and history and full participation in the local activities," said Zhang.

Since Canada received Approved Destination Status (ADS) in 2010, Canada, and indeed British Columbia, has become one of China's most promising markets.

According to Destination British Columbia, from January to August 2014, BC received 185,828 Chinese visitors, a 28.3 percent increase over last year. Early this year, Destination BC launched 13 themed itineraries, and in 2015, the organization will introduce more eco-related tours to the Chinese market.

With landscapes ranging from seashores to mountain peaks, pristine wilderness, stunning scenery, abundant wildlife and ancient aboriginal culture, BC is an eco-traveler's dream.