OREANDA-NEWS. September 05, 2016. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who is concluding his visit to China today, announced new tourism initiatives to create a stronger and more stable long-term relationship with China. The Honourable Bardish Chagger, Minister of Small Business and Tourism, made the following statement:

"Tourism is a way in which countries build closer ties not just through governments and business but also through their people. The Canada–China agreement builds on this by boosting cultural exchanges and the two-way flow of tourists.

 "Our two countries confirmed the agreement following the first leg of Prime Minister Trudeau's official visit to China. The meetings with President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang reaffirmed Canada's commitment to strengthening business and cultural ties with the world's second-largest economy.

"Canada and China have also agreed to make 2018 the Year of Canada–China Tourism. Both countries are exploring future measures to facilitate the travel flow of tourists and are working on tourism promotion activities in Canada and China, including, for example, the Canada China International Film Festival this month in beautiful Montr?al.

"An agreement was reached that will authorize Canada to open seven additional visa application centres in China to help serve a growing number of Chinese tourists who are crossing the Pacific to explore Canada. As of this summer, Chinese travellers will be able to fly to Canada from 11 cities in China, so there is a need for the visa application centres.

"China is Canada's fastest-growing tourism market, already its third-largest overseas source market for tourists, and Chinese visitors contribute over \\$1 billion annually to Canada's economy. There were almost half a million Chinese visitors in 2015, and there is a forecast for a 15 percent growth in visitors for 2016. Chinese tourist travel to Canada rose 24 percent in the first six months of this year, helped by new direct flights to Montr?al and Calgary. Chinese visitors alone support about 7,400 Canadian jobs.

"The Government of Canada recognizes the importance of tourism for Canada's economy and has committed additional funding to enhance marketing initiatives in important international markets, including China.

"This announcement will go far in boosting tourism, creating closer ties and deepening the strategic partnership between our two countries."