A six-member tourism promotion group from Harbin in China's northeastern province of Heilongjiang took part in a seminar yesterday with representatives from the local tourism industry in Kaohsiung City in order to boost bilateral exchanges.
The group, led by municipal tourism bureau head Du Chuandong (杜傳東) and composed of officials and two ice sculptors, met tourism industry representatives from the Kaohsiung and Pingtung areas in a Kaohsiung City hotel.
Du said that the purpose of his group's visit was to explore the country's history, customs, landscapes, cultural relics and economic development with an eye to depicting Taiwan's most attractive features in the 2007 annual Harbin Ice Festival, which will begin later this year.
Organizers are planning to set up a "Taiwan pavilion" at the festival to show Taiwan's attractions to the rest of the world, Du said.
The two-month festival usually opens by the end of December and is a major activity in Harbin, which courts more than 1 million visitors, Du said.
One ice sculptor, Zhou Hong (周鴻), said she was deeply impressed by the Taipei 101 tower and by Sun Moon Lake (日月潭) and Alishan (阿里山).
But Zhou said that she had failed to get inspiration from Kaohsiung's landscape and historic monuments.
The Harbin tourism mission, which arrived on Sunday, will return to China on Tuesday next week after a tour of the nation and meetings with executives from six leading travel associations to forge the possibility of two-way exchanges and further cooperation.