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Rome Woos Chinese Tourists
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Both Beijing and Rome are popular tourist destinations and cities with a strong and varied cultural heritage. This provides a basis for more exchange programs in tourism, cultural protection and restoration, the mayor of Rome said during his recent visit to China.


Nobody can ignore the huge tourism market in China as more Chinese are traveling and traveling farther, said Walter Veltroni, who arrived in Beijing on Saturday on a week-long visit to China.


"We are working on a tourism package which will specifically target Chinese tourists," said the mayor who is expecting more Chinese to visit his city this year.


"Different cultures should come together and understand each other, instead of being separated," Veltroni said, adding that visiting another country is a solid step toward getting closer to a different culture.


"As our two countries are known for their traditional cultures, we are also facing the challenge of how to combine the old with the new," he said.


Rome, a city that combines the traditional with the stylish, could be a place where Beijing could find some answers to its own dilemma of protecting its culture and at the same time, presenting a modern face.


"Rome did a very good job in protecting and restoring our cultural heritage and we could share with our Chinese counterparts in this regard," said Veltroni, who was also vice-prime minister and culture minister under the Romano Prodi government.


On Monday, Veltroni visited the Capital Museum, where the Busto di Medusa, an Italian sculpture masterpiece which shows a feminine bust, was on display.


His week-long visit will also take him to Tianjin and Xi'an, the capital city of Shaanxi Province.


(China Daily March 29, 2007)

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