China And Italy Set Up Cultural Partnership

Literary Giant Mo Yan Becomes The Brand Ambassador For Beijing/Lazio Cultural Exchange Partnership, Promoting Chinese And Italian Tourism

Chinese author Mo Yan. Photo © Johannes Kolfhaus

Chinese author Mo Yan. Photo © Johannes Kolfhaus

The respected Chinese author Mo Yan has taken on the role of brand ambassador for a new cultural partnership between Beijing and the Lazio region of Italy, promoting stronger cultural ties between the two governments and attracting more travel from tourists in both regions. Mo, who traveled to Italy to create the documentary “Roman Walks: Travel Diary of Mo Yan,” is well-known in China and the West for two of his novels on which the film Red Sorghum was based, and is widely regarded as one of the country’s greatest literary voices. As Zhang Lei writes, Claudio Mancini, president of Lazio Tourism Board, felt that Mo would be a better “face” for the cultural partnership as he brings the perspective of a Chinese intellectual, and “both Rome and Beijing have ancient cultures.” With this appointment, it will be interesting to see if other world cities create more cultural exchange partnerships as a result.

Zhang goes on to note, the huge population and increasing tourist base of China offers huge opportunities for European travel centers, since only about 5% of the Chinese who traveled abroad last year went to Europe. If only 10% went to Europe, travel operators could expect huge revenues even if other tourists cut back:

Last year, there were 65,000 Chinese tourists visiting Italy. Among the 12 million people traveling overseas, only 5 percent go to Europe, according to Eugenio Magnani, General Director of Italian National Tourist Office.

S.E Riccardo Sessa, Ambassador of Italy in Beijing, urged Chinese travel agencies to step up promotion of tourism to Italy and confirmed that it will not be affected by H1N1 pandemic flu.

And as for Mo Yan, he seems to be adapting to his new role in his characteristic stoic, restrained romantic manner, characteristic of his writing style:

“In Rome, whenever I saw something striking and magnificent, I related that to the vast and beautiful cultural history of China. This motivated and urged the creative writer instinct in me.”

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