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China opens pavilion at Dutch holiday fair

Updated: 2024-01-16 06:22 ( Xinhua )
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Chinese ambassador to the Netherlands Tan Jian introduces a visa-free policy for Dutch travelers to China. [Photo/Xinhua]

UTRECHT, the Netherlands — A Chinese pavilion opened to the public at the 2024 Dutch Holiday Fair (Vakantiebeurs 2024) in Utrecht on Thursday.

Adorned with Chinese elements such as a begonia gate, screens depicting an ancient painting and a vermilion colonnade, the pavilion is also decorated with the "Nihao (hello)! China" national tourism brand.

Covering an area of 100 square meters, the pavilion houses exhibitors touching on tourism, aviation and visa services.

Tan Jian, Chinese ambassador to the Netherlands, said at the opening ceremony of the Chinese pavilion on Wednesday that China has recently introduced a visa-free policy for Dutch citizens.

"Now travel is easy. Every week there are 36 flights between the Netherlands and China," he said.

China boasts not only delicious food, but also high-speed rail and rich culture, Tan underlined.

"Over the past decade, China has built 44,000 kilometers of dedicated high-speed railway. The speed is 350 km per hour," he said.

A Chinese pavilion opens to visitors to the 2024 Dutch Holiday Fair on Thursday. [Photo/Xinhua]

Jeroen van Hooff, CEO of the Dutch trade show and exhibition company Royal Jaarbeurs, says that he was happy to be at the Chinese pavilion because it is the first time in many years that China is attending the Dutch Holiday Fair.

"We have a strong relationship with China," he says, noting that his company is also attending trade fairs in China.

Meanwhile, former Dutch ambassador to China Ron Keller says that he felt honored to be present at the opening of the pavilion, "welcoming Dutch people and basically all Europeans who are willing to come to China".

He also notes China's new visa-free policy. "I see so many Dutch people traveling to China, and China is certainly worth a visit."

Gabriella Esselbrugge, entrepreneur and Dutch tourism promoter, says she is going to China soon, where she will visit the cities of Nanjing and Yancheng in the eastern province of Jiangsu. Showing a tourism promotion poster for the Suzhou gardens, she says she was looking forward to going.

Wang Zheng, director of the China Cultural Center in Den Haag, the Hague, which designed and built the Chinese pavilion, says the Dutch Holiday Fair is a good opportunity to promote Chinese culture and tourism.

"I hope that through this exhibition, exhibitors from other countries and regions will learn more about the huge potential of the Chinese tourism market, and promote exchanges between Chinese and foreign tourism industry players," Wang says.

This year marks the 53rd edition of the Dutch Holiday Fair, which was first held in 1970, and has since become the largest holiday-themed travel trade show for industry players in the Netherlands.

According to the organizers, more than 1,000 exhibitors from over 100 countries and regions are expected to participate in the fair, which will last from Wednesday to Sunday. Over 110,000 people are set to attend.

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