Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his wife Laureen wave while disembarking their plane after arriving in Beijing February 7, 2012.
Credits: REUTERS/Chris Wattie
Harper launched the federal Canadian Tourism Commission's 2012 marketing campaign during an official opening ceremony Wednesday morning at the CTC's newly outfitted marketing centre.
The CTC has been paying new attention to the Chinese market ever since the Chinese government granted Canada what is called approved destination status (ADS), a designation countries must have in order for everyday Chinese citizens to visit.
More than 140 countries around the world have been given ADS by the Chinese government. Canada, which got its ADS designation in 2009, was one of the last to be given official blessing for tourists by Beijing.
In the first 11 months of 2011, an estimated 232,000 tourists from China visited Canada.
The CTC's marketing campaign here will sell Chinese tourists on a handful of what it is calling "signature experiences" in Canada including, this year, the 100th anniversary celebrations of the Calgary Stampede.
Harper and his wife, Laureen, will also squeeze in a little bit of tourism of their own while they are here with a visit Wednesday morning to the Temple of Heaven.
Later on Wednesday, Harper will host a business roundtable discussion before official welcoming ceremonies to be presided over by Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao.