On 21 March 2018, H.E. Mme. Yang Xiuping, Secretary-General of ASEAN-China Centre (ACC), met with Ms. Mok Lan Lan, Director of Cultural Affairs Bureau, Ms. Maria Helena de Senna Fernandes, Director of Macao Government Tourism Office, and Mr. Kong Chi Meng, Subdirector of Education and Youth Affairs Bureau, and exchanged views on promoting ASEAN-China and ASEAN-Macao people-to-people exchanges. Mr. Zhang Xuehai, Deputy Director of Information and Public Relations Division of ACC, attended the meeting.
Secretary-General Yang gave an overview of ASEAN-China relations and the fruitful achievements of ASEAN-China practical cooperation in culture, tourism, education and other areas. She mentioned that people-to-people exchanges in such areas as culture, tourism and education are important components of ASEAN-China relations, which play a significant role in deepening bilateral relations and promoting people-to-people connectivity. ACC is committed to promoting cultural exchanges and mutual learning, increasing personnel exchanges, strengthening education cooperation and advancing friendly exchanges between the younger generations. ACC has organized a series of fruitful events including ASEAN-China Film Festival, Gourmet Festival, Tourism Festival, Chinese Traditional Medicine Trip, Youth Football Match, Youth Forum, Summer Camp and Winter Camp. Furthermore, ACC has facilitated the establishment of ASEAN – China Arts Colleges Alliance and China-ASEAN Tourism Education Alliance and held cultural tourism forum, working actively for the coordinated development of cooperation in culture, tourism and education. Macao enjoys close links with ASEAN countries with frequent personnel interflow and ever-expanding exchanges in various areas. ACC would like to enhance communication with various government agencies of Macao and facilitate Macao’s people-to-people exchanges with ASEAN.
Director Mok Lan Lan mentioned that Macao has close cultural ties and a solid foundation for cooperation with Southeast Asia. The mandate of Cultural Affairs Bureau is mainly to protect cultural relics, preserve intangible cultural heritage and train arts professionals. The Bureau holds Macao Arts Festival, Macao International Music Festival and other grand events annually, which attracts artists from across the world including ASEAN countries, and plays an important role in showcasing cultural diversity and promoting ASEAN-Macao cultural exchanges and cooperation. Director Maria Helena de Senna Fernandes cited that tourism is a pillar industry for Macao. Last year, Macao received altogether 32.6 million tourists including over 1 million from ASEAN countries. Macao regards ASEAN as a priority in developing Macao’s international tourism markets, and is going to hold a grand tourism promotional event in Myanmar. The Macao Government Tourism Office keeps close contacts and has established sound cooperation relations with the tourism sector of ASEAN countries. The Office is working actively to help Cambodia and Myanmar train tourism professionals. Subdirector Kong Chi Meng said that Macao has conducted various forms of exchanges and cooperation with the education and youth affairs sectors of ASEAN countries. Macao actively participated in China-ASEAN Education Cooperation Week (CAECW), where it has conducted in-depth exchanges with ASEAN education sectors. Macao also organized its students to Singapore for summer language and culture trips for several consecutive years, and invited ASEAN countries to Macao for the international youth dance festival, international youth music exchanges and performances and other events.
Director Mok Lan Lan, Director Maria Helena de Senna Fernandes and Subdirector Kong Chi Meng stated that, the implementation of the Belt and Road Initiative will deepen and expand ASEAN-China exchanges and cooperation. Macao attaches great importance to increasing exchanges with ASEAN in culture, tourism, education, youth and other areas. ACC is an important platform for people-to-people exchanges between both sides and has made tremendous and effective efforts in this regard. It is hoped that ACC would further facilitate Macao’s efforts to step up exchanges with ASEAN countries.