Palmerston North embraced the China New Zealand ‘Year of Tourism’ with China, hosting it’s ‘friendship city’ Kunshan for a visit on 30 May to discuss cooperation.
The visitors had full itinerary, which included meetings with local health agencies, Massey University and Te Manawa Museum, and rounding out the day with a celebratory dinner for the China-New Zealand Year of Tourism.
The dinner was attended by Palmerston North City Mayor Grant Smith, Councillor Adrian Broad, the Central Economic Development Agency (CEDA) CEO, as well as representatives from Rangitāne iwi, local tourism agencies and members of the extended Manawatu Chinese community.
During the dinner, each city had the opportunity to present information, photos and videos about tourism opportunities in each region, and to celebrate of the long relationship between the two cities.
Kunshan, located near Shanghai, is famous as the home of Kunqu Opera and several tourism attractions including Zhouzhuang – China’s No. 1 water town.
While this year holds national significance for tourism cooperation, Palmerston North has been flying the flag in China for decades. The city has two Chinese relationships, Guiyang (Guizhou Province) since 1992 and Kunshan (Suzhou Region, Jiangsu Province) since 1994.
In 2017, Mayor Smith travelled to China to reconnect with Kunshan, before an education delegation visited in 2018. "Through our revitalised relationship we're seeing great outcomes for both cities," said Mayor Smith. “We have many shared interests, leading to valuable opportunities across our education and tourism sectors.”
Members of the Kunshan delegation include: Mr. Tao LinSheng, Vice Chairman of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference of Kunshan; Ms. Jiang Zhenai, Deputy Director of the Kunshan Culture, Sports, Radio, Television, and Tourism Bureau; Mr. Liu Wei, Deputy Director of the Kunshan Health Commission; Mr. Gao Xidong, Deputy Director of the R&D Centre of the Kunshan Municipal People’s Government; and Mr. Jia Erwei, Director of the Kunshan International Relations Centre.