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Guangxi Show at UN Headquarters Wins Acclaim

Picturesque rivers and mountains. Silver beaches. An open-air banquet staged by ethnic groups in traditional attire. A smiling old lady sitting in the doorway of her home in a "longevity village".

These are just a few of the dozens of pictures exhibited at a recent tourism show promoting the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region at the United Nations' headquarters in New York.

"They are so beautiful. I've been to China a few times but mostly stayed in the big cities. I would like to go to Guangxi someday to see the scenery in person," Caroline Bergonzi, a Monacan artist who visited the show, says.

The show also included a video of the local scenery and ethnic culture, a presentation punctuated with rewarded Q&A activities and an introduction of airlines. It attracted some 150 participants from governments, the tourism industry, airline companies and the media from China and the United States.

Li Bin, vice-chairman of the autonomous region's government, says Guangxi hopes to learn from New York's experiences as a metropolitan city that attracts a great number of visitors and aims to build a series of recreational areas around Guilin, Beibu Bay, Bama and the border with Vietnam.

Deputy consul general of China in New York Qian Jin encouraged participants to include Guangxi in their travel plans.

New York's mayor, Bill de Blasio, sent a congratulatory letter to the tourism show.

Remysell Salas, a representative from the mayor's office in charge of Manhattan's community affairs, calls the event "phenomenal" and "educational".

He hopes to let his community know more about Guangxi, he says.

"I am excited. I am willing to buy the ticket to go."

China has been the No 1 outbound-tourism country in terms of expenditure since 2012. Over 3 million Chinese visited the US last year.

Guangxi received 520 million arrivals last year. Some 5 million travelers from outside the Chinese mainland stayed at least one night in the autonomous region. About 135,000 visits were by US citizens.

The number of Americans visiting China has been growing steadily, averaging about 2.1 million annually in recent years.

Tourism-industry insider Simone Bassous started her exploration across China almost 40 years ago. She visited Guilin in 1980.

"The first time I went (to China), it was on (Guangxi's) Lijiang River. It was fantastic. It was so simple."

Over the years, Bassous' list of destinations in China has grown longer to include the Mogao Grottos and the Tibet autonomous region.

"(But) East or West, Guangxi is the best," she says.

"It's a dream. People should not miss it."