A flock of white-headed langurs rest on a cliff at a national nature reserve in Luobai Town of Jiangzhou District, Chongzuo City, south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, Aug. 5, 2023. (Xinhua/Fei Maohua)
BEIJING, Sept. 27 (Xinhua) -- The China-Vietnam Detian Waterfall cross-border tourism cooperation zone, with the Chinese part being the border city of Chongzuo, south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, recently started a one-year trial operation. It is China's first cross-border tourism cooperation zone.
Insiders believe that this is an important embodiment of China and Vietnam in continuing promoting high-level opening-up, and plays an important exemplary and leading role in accelerating China's construction of border tourism pilot zones and cross-border tourism cooperation zones.
-- Better facilities, more choices
Located in Daxin County, Chongzuo, the Detian Waterfall is the biggest cross-border waterfall in Asia and the fourth largest cross-border waterfall worldwide.
During the trial operation, the zone implements a management mode of group booking, time-limited cross-border travel, group entry and exit, and limited tour lines, and tourists holding passports and exit-entry permits from the two countries are allowed to enter the zone, introduced Ban Huaqin, deputy head of the Department of Culture and Tourism of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.
Tourists who want to visit the Vietnamese part of the zone have to book for a group tour in advance through an applet, and the number of tourists in each group should be no more than 20 and no less than 5, noted Ban, adding that in the first three months of the trial operation, the number of cross-border tour groups per day will be controlled within 10, and since the fourth month, the number of cross-border tourists per day will be limited to 500.
According to Liu Gongbo, a staff in the zone, the "group entry and exit" customs clearance will be implemented at the cross-border channels for tourists. The inspection point will be open at 10:00 am Beijing time every day, and the customs clearance will be stopped after 15:00. The tour groups have to return to their respective countries before 17:00, and the tour time of each tour group spent on the other side should not exceed 5 hours.
Tourism facilities are better and there are more choices, said a tourist, adding that now Chinese and Vietnamese tourists can realize a "one-day tour to the two countries" to enjoy different folk customs.
-- Opening up new prospects for cross-border tourism cooperation
Linked by mountains and rivers, China and Vietnam have similar cultures and people-to-people bond. China and Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) members are important tourist destinations and tourist sources for each other.
According to insiders, China and Vietnam have natural advantages in the field of cross-border tourism cooperation, and it has become a consensus between the two sides to promote the construction and development of cross-border tourism cooperation zones, deepen tourism cooperation and share tourism development opportunities.
A number of interviewees said that the China-Vietnam Detian Waterfall cross-border tourism cooperation zone "opens the door to welcome visitors" marks a better prospect for the cultural and tourism cooperation between China and Vietnam.
"With the increasing popularity of cross-border tourism, people's travel demand has been released, and the 'China-Vietnam border tour' route has been favored by tourists," noted a veteran Vietnamese tour guide, adding that strengthening cross-border tourism cooperation between China and Vietnam has given confidence to travel agencies and tourism practitioners of the two countries in the recovery of the cross-border tourism market.
"I hope to introduce the Vietnamese culture to more Chinese tourists in the future, so that they can witness and continue the traditional friendship between China and Vietnam while enjoying the scenery," said the tour guide.
The completion of the China-Vietnam cross-border tourism cooperation zone will play an important role in promoting good-neighborly friendship and common development between Vietnam and China, noted an adviser from a Vietnamese tourism company. The adviser hoped that with the deepening of cooperation between the two countries in the future, tourists' travel time and routes will be further expanded and optimized, and tourists' experience will be continuously enriched.
Mo Zhidong, an official with the Department of Culture and Tourism of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, said that the successful trial operation of the cooperation zone is conducive to improving the level of tourism development and opening-up in the border region, broadening bilateral economic and trade cooperation and exchange channels, further deepening the good-neighborly and friendly relations between China and Vietnam, and promoting the healthy and stable development of the comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership between the two countries.
The construction of the China (Pingxiang) - Vietnam (Van Lang) cross-border tourism cooperation zone is also stepping up, and China-Vietnam cross-border tourism cooperation continues to heat up, Mo said.
-- Further promoting high-quality cultural and tourism development
Constructing border tourism pilot zones and cross-border tourism cooperation zones is an important part of promoting high-level opening-up and high-quality Belt and Road cooperation.
A document formulated by the State Council in 2015 proposed to support Manzhouli, Suifenhe, Erenhot, Heihe, Yanbian, Dandong, Xishuangbanna, Ruili, Dongxing, Chongzuo, Altay and other qualified areas to study the establishment of cross-border tourism cooperation zones.
In March this year, the General Office of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism issued a circular requiring to organize the declaration of border tourism pilot zones and cross-border tourism cooperation zones.
"The trial operation of the China-Vietnam Detian Waterfall cross-border tourism cooperation zone means a new breakthrough in the construction of cross-border tourism cooperation zones," said Dai Bin, president of the China Tourism Academy, adding that exploring cross-border tourism cooperation in border areas has enlightening and demonstration significance for the development of China's tourism industry, opening-up and the development of international economy and trade.
Miao Qingwang, vice chairman of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, said that by giving full play to the location advantages, Guangxi will seize the major opportunities such as the effective implementation of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and the construction of Version 3.0 China-ASEAN Free Trade Area to actively develop cross-border tourism cooperation, further promote the high-quality cultural and tourism development, boost China-Vietnam border economic and trade cooperation, cultural and tourism exchanges, and constantly enhance the sense of gain, happiness and closeness between the two peoples.
(Edited by Gu Shanshan with Xinhua Silk Road, firstname.lastname@example.org)