Mekong Tourism Forum 2013 in Guilin

The Mekong Tourism Forum (MTF) 2013 took place in Guilin, the primary tourist city of China’s Guangxi Province, on June 19th and 20th. This year’s forum attracted some 150 participants from the six Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS) countries – Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, and the Yunnan and Guangxi provinces of China. During the two-days event, they widely discussed around “Rapid development of China’s outbound travel – how the Greater Mekong Subregion countries to maximize the benefits”.

Mekong Tourism Forum

Mekong Tourism Forum 2013

The Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office (MTCO) announced that a strategic communication strategy will be implemented to provide more visibility to the Mekong destination. “We recognize that communication is essential to increase the recognition of the region”, indicates Mason Florence, Executive director of the Greater Mekong Sub-region.

It was the first time that the TWG meeting had convened in Guilin. And now, Guilin is set to be an International Tourism Destination by 2020; favorable tourism policies will be implemented for Guilin’s development. Thus, the international character of Guilin also became one of the topics in this forum.

GMS Tourism Working Group meetings

GMS Tourism Working Group meetings

The Mekong Tourism Forum is the platform for discussion on tourism between the private and public sectors of these six GMS member countries. The forum is usually linked to the region’s Tourism Working Group meetings that are held twice a year and mainly attended by government officials responsible for tourism policy.

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Hawaii Narcissus delegation visit Guilin on their 2013 Goodwill Tour to China

Narcissus delegation, led by Chinese Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii Huang Huiying, traveled to China for their 2013 Narcissus Goodwill Tour from June 2 and June 17. After visited Guangzhou, Shanghai, Xian and Beijing, they arrived in Guilin on June 13, and then left for Hong Kong. Mr Zhou wei, deputy mayor of Guilin, welcomed them at Guilin Bravo Hotel, and offered congratulations to the newly elected Narcissus “Queen” and “Princess”.

We, as a professional tour operator based in Guilin, provided a wide-range travel service for these guests. This 3-day well designed trip highlights the Li River cruise from Guilin to Yangshuo, for heavenly beauty of the scenic city. And then, visit a local market in Yangshuo to glimpse into the people’s daily life. Moreover, the star attractions – Elephat Trunk Hill, Fubo Hill, Reed Flute Cave and Impression Sanjie Liu – are also included.

Hawaii Narcissus delegation in Guilin

The group photo of our manger, the queen and her courts, and the tour guide (from L to R)

The Chinese Chamber of Commerce started the Narcissus Festival in 1950, with the aim to showcase Chinese art and culture. Throughout all the fifty-three years, the Festival has had the Narcissus Queen Pageant as its flagship program. The primary award for the queen and her court is to participate in the annual Narcissus Goodwill Tour of the Chamber to Mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan as “goodwill ambassadors.”

Dragon Boat Festival

The Dragon Boat Festival, or Duanwu Jie, is traditionally celebrated on the fifth day of the fifth month on the Chinese lunar calendar – and hence is also known as Double Fifth Day. In 2013, the festival falls on June 12. The main celebrations include dragon boat racing, eating Zongzi and drinking realgar wine, etc.

Origin
The Dragon Boat Festival dates back to earliest times and a number of legends explain its origins. The best known story centers on a patriotic court official named Qu Yuan, of the State of Chu during the Warring States Period more than 2,000 years ago. Qu tried to warn the emperor of an increasingly corrupt government, but ended up being exiled. The State of Chu was soon annexed by the State of Qin. Qu Yuan, in despair, plunged himself into the Miluo River and drowns, one the fifth day of the fifth month in 278 BC. At the news of Qu Yuan’s suicide, the lcoal people raced out in boats to look for his body. And, glutinous rice balls (zong zi) were thrown into the water, so that the fish wouldn’t eat Qu Yuan’s body. This later on turned into the custom of dragon boat racing and eating Zongzi.
Qu Yuan

Celebration
Dragon boat racing is an indispensable part of the festival, held all over the country. In the contest, competing teams row their boats forward to a drumbeat racing; the winner is the first team to grab a flag hung at the end of the course.
Dragon boat contest

The traditional food of the Dragon Boat Festival is zong zi – glutinous rice balls filled with egg, beans, walnuts, dates, mushrooms, and/or meat. The zong zi, once prepared, are wrapped inĀ  bamboo leaves and steamed.
Zong zi

This year, Longsheng will hold its International Longsheng Rice Terrace Culture Tourism Festival from June 10 to June 13, with the highlights of dragon boat contest. The event attracts dragon boat troupes from 11 districts and counties in Guilin area, besides the 15 local group of Longsheng county. Moreover, various performances and competitions of Yao, Miao and Zhuang ethnic groups will be available during the toursim festival.