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Consul General Lu Xu' Remarks at the Banquet of 2018 China-Canada Tourism Year Promotion i.e. Celebration of the Chinese Spring Festival

Distinguished guests,

Fellow Chinese,

Ladies and gentlemen,

Good evening and

Happy Chinese New Year!

My husband and I are very honored to have all of you here tonight, celebrating Chinese New Year which is also called Spring Festival. It is the time for family reunion and a better year planning. The calender of China-Canada Tourism year, highlighting with the arrival of the panda family makes 2018 so special to all of us.

The decision of China-Canada tourism year was made by both of our leaders in 2016. What is the idea behind it?

Before I left for Calgary, a five-year-old daughter of my best friend was very curious about what I was going to do. I told her, “ I will try Timbits with a cup of double-double for breakfast. Perhaps I will show my dog A-bu what loonies and toonies look like." Then I asked, “What do you know about Canada?” She thought for a while and said, " it's very far, far away , and very, very cold there, and everyone goes to school by dog sled."

Just like the lovely five-year-old who has interesting misperception about Canada, some Canadians might have a picture of China at the back of their mind that pandas are running around doing kung fu while all grandpas are good at Calligraphy.

It does happen all the time since we are so far away from each other and different.

While ladies in some south China provinces are complaining about being too tanned last summer, some Canadians just received their doctors' prescription for more Vitamin D. Talking about parental attitude towards children, tolerance ranks highest among top 10 values in Canada whereas hard work goes No. 1 on the Chinese list.

Canadians have no problem remaining calm and patient in all circumstances. Even nurses are trained not to run in the hallways when saving a dying man. However, Chinese people like to achieve our goals at a fast pace.

Distance lends enchantment. Differences can turn into attraction rather than an excuse for ignorance or conflict, if we come closer to explore and understand them.

Today we promote tourism between China and Canada, simply because we believe traveling is one of the best options for bridging differences. Like collecting puzzle pieces, you have no idea what China or Canada really is until you have seen every part of it.

However, some may argue traveling to a complete new place is a bit of intimidating. I would say it won't happen as Chinese and Canadians have been sharing much more in common than being different.

Both of us cherish the value of love for truth, goodness, and beauty, and encourage the pursuit of freedom, equality and humanity.

Both of us are hospitable and believe in building relationships. "Making every guest feels at home" is an old saying as well as the best side note of Chinese warm welcoming spirit. Similarly, Canadians are famous for being too nice and polite, as you see typical Canadian conversations start with the word "sorry".

Both countries are like a melting pot of culture that both people are proud of. On the vast land of China, there are 56 minorities. Each nationality holds its own distinctive culture. In the same way, Canada, very open and accepting, embraces the mosaic of cultures and people of different ethnic groups.

Of course, despite all the distinctions and similarities, it is not enough to boom tourism without the joint effort made by you and me. In recent years, we saw one million bilateral visits annually between our two peoples. In 2018, we want this number to grow. Because it is a slightly small number comparing with 100m annual outbound traveling unilaterally from China.

Tonight, we are going to have both representatives from China National Tourism Administration and Travel Alberta to talk about their ambitions to make it come true.

Ladies and Gentlemen, the world is like a book. If you don't travel, you are reading the same single page over and over and missing out the rest. Both of our countries are no doubt thick fantastic chapters of the book which are worth looking through.

So let's begin with adding China to your list. The journey is very safe and is a real bargain. You won't regret to go. If you ask me where to start, well, my advice is signing up an Alipay account online before you leave, you will have a seamless connection to the cashless-and-cardless-country-to-be.

Wish one day I can see you in China!

Thanks and XieXie!

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