21/02/2019 4:30:00 p.m.
21 February 2019
Mayor Hamish McDouall will travel to Lijiang, Yunnan Province, China, on 23 February 2019 to formally sign an agreement for a strategic relationship between Lijiang and Whanganui.
In 2014, Whanganui District Council established a relationship with Lijiang and in September 2015 a Memorandum of Friendly Co-Operation was signed by both mayors.
Mayor McDouall says formalising the relationship is the first step in a commitment to identify and develop mutually beneficial economic, cultural and social outcomes with Lijiang.
Lijiang has more than 40 million tourist visits per year with many attractions including the Old Town of Lijiang (a UNESCO World Heritage site), a university for tourism with 18,000 students, a massive trading hub and access to the Mekong and Yangtze Rivers.
The visit will focus on increasing tourism between both cities and the potential for educational exchanges. Whanganui visitor guides and business packs have been translated for the visit. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the General Consul in the Yunnan Province have supported formalising the relationship.
Mayor Hamish will be joined by the Council’s Principal Advisor Marianne Cavanagh, Cr Hadleigh Reid and two local business people with ventures in China. The estimated cost for the Mayor and Ms Cavanagh to travel to Lijiang is $4,000, with internal travel and accommodation paid for by the Lijiang government. Others in the delegation paying their own way.
In December 2017, Mayor McDouall attended the New Zealand-China Mayoral Forum, which provides peer-to-peer exchanges between mayors from both countries.
“It became evident to me at the Mayoral Forum that there are massive economic opportunities for New Zealand cities which result from relationship with Chinese municipalities. This year is the China-New Zealand Year of Tourism and this has prompted the timing of the visit. We have a great opportunity to showcase Whanganui as a tourist destination to many millions of people,” says Mayor McDouall.
In 2018, while on an educational visit to China, representatives from Whanganui and Partners and New Zealand International Commercial Flight Academy took the opportunity to visit Lijiang to talk to officials about tourism, business and educational exchanges.
Lijiang is an economic and cultural hub located in the northwest of the Yunnan province in China. It has a population of 1,244,769 and is home to the Naxi people, one of the 56 ethnic groups of China.
Lijiang is one of the most popular tourist destinations in China, with more than 40 million tourist visits per year. The Old Town of Lijiang is a UNESCO World Heritage Site dating back to 1,000 years and famous for its old waterways and bridges and timber and mud-brick houses.
Image by Marcus Wellman, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported license