ZHANGYE, Gansu, June 15 (Xinhua) -- Nineteen Chinese and foreign cities along the Silk Road on Sunday issued a declaration that they will jointly develop tourism along the ancient trade route.
The cities will promote tourist itineraries and explore tourism resources to rejuvenate the area and seek mutual benefit, according to the declaration, issued at the opening ceremony of the fourth Silk Road International Tourism Festival in Zhangye City of northwest China's Gansu Province.
The 19 cities include some in China's Shaanxi, Gansu, Ningxia, Qinghai, Inner Mongolia, Xinjiang and Taiwan, as well as in Belarus, Ukraine, Bahrain, Cyprus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia and Nepal.
The initiative comes under China's strategic vision of the Silk Road Economic Belt, a strengthened set of trade infrastructures along the ancient Silk Road.
China will cooperate with countries along the Silk Road to issue more tourist-friendly policies, set up promotion platforms and boost interconnection along the route, said Shao Qiwei, head of China's National Tourism Administration.
The 19 cities will hold tourism expos and forums in 2014.
The Silk Road Economic Belt was first proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping last year. Strengthening economic ties along the route is seen as an opportunity for China to continue its opening up to the world and maintain economic advances.
The Silk Road connected China and Europe from around 100 B.C..