SEATTLE, the United States, Dec. 11 (Xinhua) -- The U.S. state of Washington welcomes closer cooperation in tourism with China to strengthen U.S.-China ties, the state's Lieutenant Governor Cyrus Habib said Wednesday.
Habib made the remarks at a cultural and tourism promotion event in the state organized by China's Ministry of Culture and Tourism. More that 200 government officials, local tourism and cultural industry representatives attended the event.
Habib noted that the United States and China, as the world's two biggest economies, still need to learn more about each other and better understand each other's cultural traditions.
Developing a bilateral relationship needs mutual respect and understanding, he said, noting that tourism plays a key role in strengthening people-to-people exchanges.
Tourism is not only about business, which is helpful to the local economy, but also about creating an exciting experience for people to make new friends and discover diversified cultures, Habib said.
"We always want to be the most hospitable place in the world for tourists from China," he said. "We want to be a place where people come and discover not only the beauty and kindness of American people, but also the rich culture of the state and Seattle region."
The lieutenant governor, who has visited China many times, also encouraged local residents to take more opportunities to visit China, saying it is an amazing place for travelers.
He also emphasized that Washington State focuses on enhancing its relationship with China at the provincial, municipal and even community levels.
At the event, Chinese Deputy Consul General in San Francisco Ren Faqiang said the event aimed to promote the two countries' tourism industries and find ways to increase people's travel opportunities.
More than 3 million Chinese tourists visited the United States in 2018, and China now boasts a huge tourism market, Ren said, adding that people-to-people exchanges stemming from tourism can turn into friendship and understanding.