Consul General Zhang Qiyue,
Ladies and Gentlemen, dear friends,
It gives me great pleasure to join you in New York for the Fujian Tourism Promotion. Firstly, please allow me on behalf of Fujian Provincial Government, to express the warmest welcome to all the guests present today, and sincere thanks to all the American friends who have been caring for and supporting the development of Fujian Province.
Situated on China’s southeast coast, Fujian lies between the Yangtze River Delta and Pearl River Delta, and faces Taiwan across the Strait. It covers a land area of 124, 000 sq. km, and a sea area of 136,000 sq. km. It has a population of over 38 million. In 2015, GDP of Fujian Province totaled US $400.3 billion, an increase of 9% over the previous year, and 2.1 percentage points higher than the national average level.
Boasting green hills and clear water, Fujian enjoys high-quality living environment. The woodland accounts for 65.95% of the total area, ranking Fujian the first place in the country for many consecutive years. Fuzhou and Xiamen are among the top ten cities that enjoys the best air quality in China. In terms of convenient transportations, its total length of high speed railways in service exceeds 1500 km, accounting for one tenth of the total mileage in China. The length of expressways tops 5000km, with all counties getting access to the expressway in 15 minutes. There are six airports in Fujian. Now the China Eastern Airline runs a flight each day from Fuzhou to New York via Shanghai, and Xiamen Airlines plans to launch a direct flight from Fuzhou to New York in the first half of 2017. Xiamen Cruise Port can offer anchorages to 220,000 ton-level luxury cruise or 3 to 4 medium-to-small cruises. Fujian is renowned for its rich talents, culture and picturesque landscape. It is home to Wuyi Mountain (a World Cultural and Natural Heritage Site), Fujian Tulou (a World Cultural Heritage Site), Taining Danxia Landsacpe (a World Natural Heritage Site), and 2 Global Geoparks. Three Lanes and Seven Allies in Fuzhou, Gulang Islet in Xiamen and Kaiyuan Temple in Quanzhou are also well-known tourist attractions. Mr. Morrison, Professor with Purdue University and President of International Tourism Studies Association, who once visited Fujian many times, spoke highly of the tourist resources of Fujian. Hereby, I’d like to focus my presentation on “three ones”, i.e. one cup of tea, one building and one road.
One cup of tea refers to the world-renowned Fujian Tea. Fujian is the hometown of black tea and oolong tea. Tanyang Gongfu black tea received the gold prize in the 1915 Panama Pacific International Exposition, and the word “oolong” has its origin from Fujian. In October 1860, Mr. Jones, an American youth arrived in Fuzhou and started a 20-year stay there. He exchanged the industrial products of western society for the well-known Wuyi Rock Tea and Jasmine Tea. After being processed and packed, those teas were traded to the western countries, which made Mr. Jones flourish and became the general manager of famous Edge corporation. His son was born in Fuzhou, and got an infant name “Fusheng”( literally means born in Fuzhou). In 1880, he and his family embarked on the return journey to the United States with the fond memories of Fuzhou. He often introduced to many his friends the eastern city of Fuzhou, the city where he earned his wealth and absorbed the quintessence of tea culture. Today, we also bring the Fujian Tea here, please enjoy it.
One building refers to the unique Fujian Tulou (Earthen building). In 1980s, the American satellite detected a “missile base” in the mountainous area of Southeast China. In the area, there were a large number of silo-shaped buildings, and smoke rose from these buildings time and again. Through the field trip, the Americans found the “secret” of those bases. In fact, the silos are earthen buildings, where live the Hakka people. They burned firewood for cooking. Many pictures of the Earthen Buildings were taken to the US. Since then, Fujian Toulou has attracted world attention. It is not necessary to verify the authenticity of this anecdote. I believe that no matter who visits Tulou, he or she will admires its history, scale, intricate structure, and profound connotation. A Tulou unites a large clan, and carries on the essence of Chinese civilization that respects ancestors and advocates friendly neighborliness. Many American tourists said in admiration that they have never seen such magnificent buildings like Tulou, and it is amazing that people still live in these buildings that were built over 1,000 years ago. Professor Morrison argues that Tulou is a world-class tourism resource that is on a par with the Great Wall, the Palace Museum, and the Terra-Cotta Warriors.
One road refers to the Maritime Silk Road that stretches hundreds of thousands of miles. For centuries, this Maritime Silk Road, which connects China with Central and West Asia, the east coast of Africa, and coastal regions of the Red Sea, has played an important role in China’s foreign exchanges and trade. Fujian serves as an important starting point of this Maritime Silk Road. As early as the mid-Tang Dynasty, Quanzhou, a port city in Fujian, together with Guanzhou, Jiaozhou, and Yangzhou, had been recognized as the four major trading ports in the country. The Maritime Silk Road reached its peak during the Song and Yuan dynasties. Quanzhou became the “largest oriental port”, enjoying equal reputation with Alexandria, Egypt. In the early Ming Dynasty, Fuzhou replaced Quanzhou as the official port. Admiral Zheng He, a renowned navigator, commanded his fleet to sail off from Taiping Port, Changle, for voyages to the Western Seas. In the mid-and-late Ming Dynasty, the Moon Port of Zhangzhou City was the largest port for foreign trade in the country. Currently, six provinces and nine cities have made a joint proposal to apply World Cultural Heritage status for the Maritime Time Silk Road. Fujian, with Fuzhou, Quanzhou, and Zhangzhou among the cities, is the province that has the most applicants in this proposal. Right now, there are over 50,000 Arabic descendants living in Quanzhou. The ancestral temple of Mazu, the sea goddess, is located in Putian City, which is also the birthplace of Mazu culture. Mazu is widely worshipped by overseas Chinese and people in Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan. The culture of the Maritime Silk Road is not only one of Fujian’s cultural brands, but also a common cultural and historical memory of countries and regions along the route. Thanks to the profound culture of the Maritime Silk Road, Fujian was designated by the Central Government as the core area of the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road Initiative.
Dear guests, ladies and gentlemen, friends,
Fujian and the United States although oceans apart, they have maintained close relations. Oregon, Virginia, and Pennsylvania are sister states of Fujian Province. Eight cities in Fujian have established friendly relations with 16 American cities. In 2015, two-way trade exceeded USD 30 billion, and two-way investment surpassed USD 6 billion. In particular, exchanges and cooperation in tourism have become the highlight of our relations. In 2014, the 8th China-U.S. Tourism Leadership Summit was held in Xiamen city of Fujian. Last year, American tourists made 285,500 visits to Fujian, and Fujian tourists made over 40,000 trips to America via the exit port of Fujian. We sincerely hope that through the China-U.S. Tourism Year and today’s promotion, the tourism sectors of both sides will strengthen exchanges and cooperation and provide more convenience to the people of both countries.
Dear guests, ladies and gentlemen, friends,
The first Chinese character of Fujian province is Fu, which means blessing. Therefore, many people call Fujian a “land of blessings”. We sincerely invite you and your family to visit Fujian and enjoy the charm of the “Refreshing Fujian”. Upon visiting Fujian, good luck and happiness will be always by your side.