Categorized | Featured, National News

Chinese Ambassador Stresses Need For More Chinese Visitors


Chinese tourism is big business and local tourism officials have long been gung ho about attracting more Chinese tourists.

But they are not alone.

Chinese Ambassador Hu Shan yesterday emphasized the importance of locking in more Chinese visitors to The Bahamas in light of the ongoing development of the multi-billion dollar mega resort, Baha Mar.

During the diplomat’s first official meeting with Opposition Leader, Dr. Hubert Minnis and his Deputy Leader Loretta Butler Turner, Ambassador Hu noted that of the 70 million Chinese tourists who visited foreign countries last year, only 2,000 to 3,000 came to The Bahamas.

This is actually less on a per capita basis than the number of Bahamians who visited China last year.

But, in order to lure more Chinese tourists to The Bahamas, Ambassador Hu – speaking through an interpreter- said obtaining a visa for Chinese has to be an easier process.

“For the Chinese tourist to apply for visa for The Bahamas, they need to go to Beijing, the capital of China and because in China there are 30 provinces, it’s difficult for them to apply for the visa,” Ambassador Hu explained.

But with the Obama administration declaring that the government will increase the staff members of the U.S. Embassy in China, the ambassador said it is anticipated that the U.S. will attract more than 40 per cent of the tourists from his home country.

“It’s expected that the Chinese tourist who enter the USA would be 2,000,000. If 10 per cent of Chinese tourist who enter the USA arrive in The Bahamas that would be 200,000,” he said.

The former government was reportedly pursuing an e-distribution system in order to make the process of obtaining visas for Chinese tourists a lot simpler.

Apart from tourism, the Chinese government also attaches great importance to the use of alternative energy, especially considering the rising cost of electricity.

It is an issue the ambassador plans to discuss Deputy Prime Minister Philip Davis.

Ambassador Hu said his country would provide some solar energy lights and energy saving air conditions.

“I think that is excellent,” Dr. Minnis said.

“As you know, we have a very high cost of energy and that impacts from the poorest level up to the richest level. If we can find ways and means to decrease our import bill, I think that would go a long way because we would have other resources and other monies to use in social programmes, education, health, etc. We would welcome alternative energy, it’s environmentally friendly and we look forward to that,” he said.

Mrs. Butler Turner also expressed an interest to see that energy efficient lighting could be provided for Family Island airports for night time flying.

The Ambassador also spoke about the great potential for both countries to cooperate in the agricultural sector, as China has the advantage of money and technology while the Bahamas has unused land for agricultural development.

The use of traditional Chinese medicine being introduced locally was also discussed.

Following yesterday morning brief talks, both parties exchanged gifts.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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