South China's Macao Special Administrative Region will help train talent for tourism management and services in Zhangjiakou, North China's Hebei province, in an effort to contribute to the country's preparation for the 24th Winter Olympic Games in 2022.
"It's an honor to have the opportunity to participate in our nation's preparation for the Winter Olympics," said Ian Mei-kun, vice-president of the Institute for Tourism Studies in Macao. "We will use our strengths to cooperate with the host city to further improve tourism services."
As a well-known tourism hot spot worldwide, Macao received more than 20 million tourists during the first half of this year, up 20.6 percent year-on-year, according to a report by China News Service.
More than 70 percent of the visitors are from the Chinese mainland, the report said.
The institute and Zhangjiakou Tourism Development Committee signed a memorandum of understanding on Monday about their cooperation in the next two years.
According to the memorandum, the institute will send teachers to Zhangjiakou to train the city's tourism management officials, travel agencies, hotels and scenic spots and will also invite industry-related people to attend training classes at the school.
Zhangjiakou, which will co-host the 2022 Winter Olympics with Beijing, has also emerged as a new tourism hot spot as it prepares for the Games' skiing events. The city received more than 70 million tourists last year, up 17.5 percent year-on-year.
"This is a good start for bilateral cooperation," said Wu Weidong, Zhangjiakou's mayor. "Zhangjiakou will deepen communication with Macao in various areas, including tourism, trade, science and technology."
Wu made the remark at the memorandum's signing ceremony, which is one of the scheduled events for the delegation of over 100 members from the special administrative region led by Fernando Chui Sai-on, chief executive of the Macao SAR.
Consisting of students and representatives of government officials from Macao, the delegation started their five-day visit in Hebei on Sunday.
During the trip, they visited Chengde Mountain Resort, an imperial palace-garden, and Saihanba, a forest, in Chengde, as well as a hall exhibiting the plans for the 2022 Winter Olympics and Thaiwoo Ski Resort in Zhangjiakou.
"The trip can help the youth of Macao deepen their understanding of our motherland and enhance their patriotism," Chui said on Sunday while meeting with Wang Dongfeng, secretary of the Communist Party of China's Hebei Provincial Committee.
Wong Weng-hou, a 17-year-old student who served as one of the delegates, agreed.
"I want to make my contribution to our country's sports development," Wong said.
Wong said he had been looking forward to visiting Zhangjiakou because he is a sports lover and wants to be a volunteer at the Olympic Games. He said he plans to apply to Beijing Sport University after graduating from high school in Macao.
Chui said Macao will actively guide the region's youth to come to Hebei and participate in the province's innovative and entrepreneurial activities.
"Hebei is facing great development opportunities, especially the integrated development of Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei, the building of Xiongan New Area and the preparation for the 2022 Winter Olympics," said Wang Dongfeng, adding that the opportunities also provide a broad platform for increasing cooperation between Hebei and Macao.
The visit is of great importance as this year marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of China and also the 20th anniversary of Macao's return to the motherland, Wang said, adding he hoped the two sides will strengthen ties in economic, social and cultural areas.