Over one year ago,the Tourism Administration of Sichuan Province hosted the Campaign of “Over one year ago, the Tourism Administration of Sichuan Province hosted the campaign of”Travelling along the Southern Silk Road.

Visiting the Homeland of Pandas-European Panda Fans Traveling to Sichuan. For the first time, giant panda fans were recruited from countries that were currently hosting giant pandas across Europe. After a series of fierce competitions, 12 fans from the UK, France, Spain, Belgium Germany and Austria won the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of a keen road trip to Sichuan. This activity provided 12 panda fans with the chance to make their long-cherished dream to visit the homeland of giant pandas finally came true.

A large road trip team was organized in early June 20151 consisting of the selected panda fans, experts and cultural celebrities working in the fields related to pandas and the Southern Silk Road. The team drove cars made in Chengdu and took two months to travel approximately 20,000km through 13 countries of Eurasia to the destination of Sichuan to experience its tourism charm. I very much enjoyed the privilege of being invited by the committee as a special guest to participate throughout the whole journey and had the chance to witness how special giant pandas to the people all around the world. I would like to share my personal experience with you here.

Giant Pandas Display Their Unique and Magical Charm

Giant pandas fascinated people along the trip,regardless of their gender age, nationality language
or religion.

Prior to our departure, I brought a very cute panda toy for pictures when we arrived at famous attractions or there was a promotional event along our trip. Once I was taking photos with the toy panda in the streets of Paris and unexpectedly a crowd of people gathered around me and showed great interest in my toy Some asked to take a photo with it and some young couples posed while hugging and kissing it. I was so happy to share some panda items I had with reel like panda badges, panda magnets and panda pictures.

One evening, we drove to an Iranian restaurant for dinner. Some local people friendly came forward to greet us. I took out some panda pictures from my backpack and showed them to a child. To my surprise, many people around were attracted by my pictures and formed a circle around us to look. I immediately took a picture of this scene and of their affection for pandas with my cellphone.

Another time as we crossed the Mediterranean from Greece to Turkey through the port, many cars were queued up to complete the custom formalities. Surprisingly the giant panda logos posted on our cars brought huge smiles to the customs officers’ serious faces. They immediately directed us to another empty channel. We presented a lovely panda toy to them. They were so glad and shouted loudly “Panda! Panda!” in English and thanked us again and again. They even sacrificed their lunch break to handle our entry formalities as quickly as possible.

At the beginning of July there were anti-China demonstrations and attacks on Chinese restaurants in some parts of Turkey However we experienced another atmosphere when we travelled through cities and villages in Turkey The local people were very friendly to us. They greeted us] invited us to have local black tea and ice cream, helped to clean our cars, and showed us correct directions. Some people noticed some team members wearing dresses with the Chinese national flag and giant pandas and they kindly reminded us to pay attention to our safety We were very touched by their kindness.

In Belgium, an elderly couple was known as “super panda fans”. Their host located in Brussels, was quite furious for their panda collection. Every aspect in their three-story house was decorated in giant panda ; panda toys, panda tableware] panda cushions, panda calendar and more. The living room and bedroom were with various panda toys of different sizes and materials. For the couple the giant panda was a family member and a close kiend to them. They had gathered over 2,000 pieces of all kinds ofcoUections themed pandas over 37 years.”We love giant pandas for just following their inner voice!” Every team member admired this couple for their pure and sincere love
for giant pandas.

Giant Pandas Living in Europe

Giant pandas that are currently living in Europe are deeply loved by local people Britain was the first Stop road trip and we arrived at Edinburgh Zoo on June 11. Yang Guang and Tian Tian enjoyed the comfortable environment, fine food and the most caring keepers in the zoo. In the giant panda exhibition , visitors lined up to take photos with giant pandas red with posters on which some Chinese characters like Sichum Bamboo and Giant Pandas were printed. Mr. lain Valentine, the director of the giant panda project, told us that now Edinburgh Zoo was the must-see destination since arrival of these two pandas in 2011. There was a huge and growing surge of tourist numbers
from 500,000 to 860,000 during the first year due giant pandas were at the zoo. The two pandas had generated revenue of 17 million pounds for three and a half years.

In Act, Tian Tian and Yang Guang were not the first panda residents in Britain.As early as 1939, five giant pandas arrived in London. Tang, Sung and Ming lived in London Zoo. Sadly both Tang and Sung passed away shortly after their arrival. Ming was the youngest one. During the Blitz a period in which large parts of London were devastated by German bombs, Ming remained calm as usual.

When Princess Margaret visited Ming, the giant panda was very naughty and claimed Princess Margaret’s floral umbrella. This horny story was written in the London newspaper and it brought courage and confidence to the people, Ming into a national hero and legend.

In Belgium, Mr. Tim Bouts, the director of Paili Daiza Zoo and Ms. Tang warmly welcomed us. We were so impressed by the exquisite and unique Chinese architecture at the zoo. The whole area gave us a feeling of warmth and felt like we were returning back to China. Mr. Tim told us that the arrival of pandas resulted an enormous growth of visitors. During some weekends, the visitor numbers may reach up to 20,000 per day An official from the Belgium National Tourism Administration said in a welcome speech that the giant panda is not only the national treasure of China, but also the most distinguished guest in Belgium. Xing Hui and Hao Hao are now leading a happy and healthy life in Belgium and are wide popularity among the Belgian people.

In the corresponding Sichuan tourism promotion conference held in Paris France, Mr. Clement Laloux, from Paris Tourism Bureau delivered a welcome speech. He said Sichuan province is well known for being the hometown of giant pandas across the world. For quite a long time,the iconic, endangered and lovable giant panda was the ideal business card for the Chinese government and had made an important contribution and envoys for cultural exchange between China, Europe and other countries.

On June 19, the tourism promotion conference was held in Schloss Charlottenbwg Berlin, Germany Mr. Gmbwort Tschapke, the president of the Prussia Association in Berlin, took a certain :if pleasure in expressing his fondness for giant pandas. In an earnest tone he said he attached the panda puppets and photos exhibited at the entrance . The two colors] beautiful black and white patterns of giant pandas were the exact two colors on the badge of the Kingdom of Pmssia’s royal family in the middle of the 186 century Indeed, he said Germany has an inherent relation with Sichuan province. The contrasting black and white markings have fascinated people from different countries.

For the 12 panda fans, they are also highly passionate about the culture of the pandas’ home, Sichuan province. They were worthy of the name of Sichuan Tourism Panda Ambassadors bestowed upon them for this trip] for whenever they faced about giant pandas, they would introduce Sichuan to their audiences.

Mr. Surrey from England, used to be an aircraft engineer and now works freelance, has traveled to more than 200 countries and visited Sichuan 14 times. He told us that he enjoyed nature since his childhood. Bird photography is his greatest pleasure. He has a long fondness for giant pandas and he thinks they are the most lovable animal in the world. For giant panda news on the website of Sichuan, he was so glad to read the news about “Travelling along the Southern Silk Road. Visiting the Homeland of Pandas-European Panda Fans Traveling to Sichuan’ campaign. He signed up immediately. It is his wish that more and more people will visit beautiful Sichuan province to see the giant pandas. During our trip, I noticed Surrey was quite an active young man, who was good at communicating, highly helpful and always willing to assist with team members with odd jobs.

Furthermore, he volunteered to be a campaigner to introduce giant pandas and Sichuan tourist attractions to visitors and passengers whenever there was a chance.

This is my second time to China. It is such a pity missed giant pandas when I visited Hong Kong for the first time’ said by Mb. Dai Mengping,a native of Paris passionate for spicy food, especially hotpot. The hotpot in Paris is not spicy enough for me!” So the top priorities of this visit to Sichuan was hotpot and giant panda.

Coco, a panda fan fore Germany told Mr Wei Hong, the governor of Sichuan province, she originally visited Sichuan with the aim to gain a huffier understanding of giant pandas. The perfect journey to Sichuan deeply touched her heart Surrey said the beauty of Sichuan was beyond description.Nowhere else in the world can there be such a place with such rich culture, friendly people and food. He would definitely recommend it to friends.

This campaign built a bridge of communication and friendship between Europe and Sichuan province under the banner of giant pandas.