China\'s tourist city seeks to attract more visitors from Germany, Europe

Hangzhou city, a picturesque tourist destination in east China, showcased its beautiful landscape and cultural charm at an ongoing expo here Wednesday in a bid to attract more European visitors.

When addressing a grand party aimed at promoting the city's tourism industry, Hangzhou's Vice Mayor Zhang Jianting appealed to well over 120 tourist administrators and travel agents to better appreciate Hangzhou, dubbed as "a paradise on earth" by many renowned Chinese poets and painters.

According to Zhang, Hangzhou's delegation to attend the ongoing International Tourism Exchange (ITB), the world's leading travel and trade show, also came at a time when the 2012 Chinese Cultural Year in Germany is in full swing.

Hangzhou aims high this time, not only to bolster the city's image but also to enhance links and partnership with Germany and Europe as well, Zhang said.

Hangzhou was listed among the world's top 41 places to go by The New York Times last year for its affluent tourist resources. It boasts the world renowned West Lake, the Xixi Wetlands, the Grand Canal, the Grand Tide of Qiantangjiang River, not to mention its great bonanza of legendary folklore, including the Madame White Snake.

The city has been hailed as the 'Capital of Leisure' by the World's Leisure Organization, in addition to the title of 'China's Best Tour City' conferred by the World's Tourism Organization, said Zhang.

Zhang added that the city received over 3 million overseas tourists and 70 million Chinese domestic visitors in 2011.

Hangzhou has also become an increasingly important host of international expos, said Zhang. "It held the second 'World Leisure Expo' in 2011 and the two-month-long event had drawn over 20 million visitors from some 60 countries around the world."

In its bid to lure in more tourists from Germany, the tourism authorities have also jointly developed new tour routes and programs with a Germany tourism company Tui AG.

Wang Xinzhang, deputy director of the Hangzhou Tourism Commission, expressed confidence in these programs, saying he was sure "they will definitely make a big hit."