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Sydney / August 27, 2018

Photo taken on Feb. 5, 2017 shows a scene of a light show on water curtain after the launching ceremony of China-Australia Year of Tourism 2017 in Sydney, Australia. China-Australia Year of Tourism 2017 was officially launched in Sydney on Sunday. (Xinhua/Zhu Hongye)

BEIJING, Feb. 5 (Xinhua) - Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull have sent their congratulations to the China-Australia Year of Tourism 2017, which was officially launched in Sydney on Sunday.

In his congratulatory message, Li said people-to-people and cultural exchanges between the Chinese and Australian people is one of the important pillars supporting the development of bilateral relations.

Li said he was happy to see that China and Australia have become popular tourism destinations for each other, with the total number of two-way arrivals between the two countries reaching nearly 2 million last year.

Li expressed his hope that the two countries can use the Year of Tourism as an driving opportunity to broaden and deepen bilateral cooperation and exchanges in various fields including people-to-people and cultural exchanges, to build a more solid popular basis for all-round development of bilateral ties.

The Chinese premier said the two countries respect civilizational diversity in the world, and on the basis of sound development of bilateral relations in the past 45 years since the establishment of diplomatic relations, China and Australia should continue to uphold equality in treating each other, tolerance and openness, and learn from each other to jointly safeguard world peace and promote regional stability, and achieve new results from mutually beneficial cooperation in the greater interest of the two peoples.

The Australian prime minister said in his congratulatory message that more than 20 years of partnership in tourism between Australia and China has borne many fruits and China has become Australia's most valuable tourism market with 1.2 million Chinese tourists visiting Australia last year.

He said the Australia-China Year of Tourism marks a brand new era for bilateral relations and he believes that through joint efforts, Australia and China will share opportunities to be brought about by future development in the field.