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Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation in the field of tourism signed with Jining, China

October 4, 2017: Taganrog official delegation visited the partner city Jining, Shandong Province (Peoples' Republic of China) to participate in the events of the 34th Jining International Confucius Culture Festival, dedicated to the great thinker's 2568th birth anniversary.

The city was represented by President of Taganrog City Council and City Executive Mrs. Inna Titarenko, alderwoman and presiding commissioner at the committee on the budget, taxes and economic development Mrs. Yelena Sirota, Director of Taganrog Tourism Information Center Mrs. Anna Tsygankova, Taganrog Foreign Relations Officer Mr. Alexander Mirgorodskiy.

The first international cultural festival dedicated to Confucius was held in 1984, and since 1989 it was held every year by the People's Government of Shandong Province and Jining Municipality. The program of the festival consisted of several events, including the UNESCO Confucius literacy award ceremony and the traditional worship ceremony at the Confucius Temple in Qufu.

Official foreign delegations and representatives from Russia, Spain, Germany, Italy, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Columbia, Pakistan, South Africa and other countries attended the festival. At the meeting with Mayor Fu Mingxian and other Jining leaders, Inna Titarenko thanked the hosts for the invitation and noted the festival's high organization level. She highlighted the continued importance of the heritage left by two geniuses - Confucius and Chekhov and a common world view that they shared.

"From 2009, when the two cities signed a partnership agreement, we have been developing friendly relations, exchanging delegations and undertaking cultural projects", told Taganrog City Executive. "In September 2016 Confucius cultural photo exhibition opened in Taganrog. In May 2017 an Chekhov exhibition dedicated to Russian culture and Chekhov family opened in Jining.

Both exhibits demonstrated the interest of citizens in both cities for further strengthening of mutual understanding and friendly relations. Taganrog and Jining discussed drafting a joint program of tourism exchanges to satisfy this interest. The matter was brought up at the meeting with Jining People's Government leadership, followed by a meeting with Mr. Yang Fengdong, director of Jining Tourism Development Bureau.

The two sides formalized their intentions by signing a Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation in the field of tourism. The document stipulates several joint actions in this area to be taken: to develop initiatives to increase bilateral tourism flows with emphasis on cultural tourism, sun and beach tourism, educational tourism, and tourism organized for groups; to develop joint tour itineraries to mutually promote cultural life and traditions; to encourage the flow of tourists through the diffusion of information materials on cultural events taking place in Taganrog and Jining; to develop joint tour itineraries in the fields of business tourism, environmental tourism, children's tourism.

Next, several meetings were held with Mrs. Lin Meiyu, C.E.O. of "Phoenix International" tour company. The parties exchanged information materials on tours and discussed the optimization of entry visa processing. The Chinese company received proposals on "Chekhov Tour", the annual festival "Defense of Taganrog in 1855" and other newsworthy events. As a result of the talks held between Taganrog Tourism Information Center and "Phoenix International", the two agreed on working out and signing commercial contracts to enter into business relations.

"We are interested in developing our exchanges not only in culture and tourism, but also in economy, science and education. Taganrog and Jining have an enormous potential for mutually beneficial cooperation, which needs to be unlocked", argues Inna Titarenko - "This is going to be another contribution to the development of closer friendship between the two neighbours - China and Russia.

Taganrog delegation also visited Shandong Polytechnic College to meet its leadership headed by vice-president Li Yunzhi. "The more we know Jining, the better we see that the home city of Confucius is the center of high technology and education", remarked Inna Titarenko during the exchange of ideas. "I hope that this meeting will give rise to developing relations between Shandong Polytechnic College and universities and colleges in Taganrog", added the City Executive.

The Chinese institution's leadership expressed their readiness to discuss the possibility of joint educational projects. Inna Titarenko left an entry in the college's distinguished visitors' book and met with Chinese students. She told the audience about the history of sinology in Russia and responded to numerous questions.

Another visit was made to the "China-Russia Friendship Center", which recently opened in Jining. The honorary right to officially inaugurate the place was given to Taganrog City Executive Inna Titarenko and director of Jining Foreign Affairs Office Mrs. Li Li.

The tight agenda prepared for the Taganrog delegation by Chinese partners confirmed the importance of international contacts for our cities and for the two countries.