As of December 4, 2017, 777 rail journeys between Chengdu International Railway Port and 11 destinations in Europe have been completed, with Prague in the Czech Republic and Tilburg in the Netherlands as two of the more common destinations. Among all Chinese cities included in the China-Europe Rail Express plan, Chengdu as a departure or terminating point now has the largest amount of traffic, accounting for nearly one third of the journeys scheduled under the plan.
The More Than Pandas – Kickoff Ceremony of China-Europe Trains (Sichuan-Europe Express) Tourism Promotional Campaign was held at the Modern Logistics and Trade Zone in Qingbaijiang District, Chengdu, at 10:00 am on December 15, 2017. Co-organized by the Sichuan Provincial Tourism Development Committee and the Chengdu Municipal Port and Logistics Office, the event was designed to support China’s One Belt, One Road initiative, create synergy with the upcoming China-EU Tourism Year 2018, and open the door to new and unprecedented opportunities to further boost the development of the province’s tourism sector.
The panda-themed freight train showcased at the launching ceremony has drawn the attention of visitors. From the locomotive to the individual compartments, the train features a panoply of artistic renditions of the panda, many of which highlight the naive charm that the iconic animal is known for. The renditions show pandas in different poses, including running, sitting, lying prone and lying on their back. The decorative train represents what the collaboration between Sichuan province’s tourism authorities and Chengdu–Europe express train services can achieve, demonstrating and further enhancing Sichuan’s unique qualities as a leading tourism destination while drawing in more tourists from overseas markets. “Beautiful China, More than Pandas”, a large global tourism marketing campaign hosted by the China National Tourism Administration and managed by the Sichuan Provincial Tourism Development Committee, has been kicked off, with pandas galore strolling the streets worldwide. The panda-themed train is the latest of Sichuan’s efforts in promoting the province as a great place to visit. In addition to the existing list of stations where the train now stops, the Sichuan Provincial Tourism Development Committee has been in talks with stations along the route with the goal of adding more stops in a bid to further promote Sichuan’s tourist attractions, brand awareness and marketing campaigns.