On the occasion of World Tourism Day on September 27, Ms. Ying Hong, Rotating Presidency of European Federation of Chinese Tourism (EFCT) and President of Association of Chinese Tourism, Italy, and Mr. Ferdinando Santoro, President of Italian company Scrinium, jointly donated the “Replica of Marco Polo’s Will” to the World Tourism Alliance (WTA). The original of Marco Polo’ Will is said to be stored in the National Library of St Mark’s in Italy. The donated Replica of Marco Polo’s Will was reproduced in proportion to the original and had been authorized by the National Library of St Mark’s.
Video Conference Site of Donation Ceremony
At 4:00 PM Beijing time, the donation ceremony, held simultaneously in Beijing, China and Venice, Italy via Internet connection was witnessed by representatives of the Chinese and Italian governments and the cultural and tourism industry. A number of leaders and guests addressed the ceremony, including Duan Qiang, Chairman of WTA, Li Junhua, Chinese Ambassador to Italy, Rosanna Binacchi, International Relations Office of the Ministry of Culture Heritage and Activities (Italy), Zheng Hao, Deputy Director-General of Bureau of International Exchange and Cooperation, Ministry of Culture and Tourism of China, Laura Fincato, Former Member of Italian Parliament, Former Member of Italian Government and Former Alderwoman of Venice Government, Xu Peng, Deputy Director-General of Zhejiang Provincial Department of Culture and Tourism, Cristiano Corazzari, Councilor of the Veneto Region with Responsibility for Culture, Zhang Hong, Deputy Consul-General of Chinese Consulate-General in Milan, Paola Mar, Commissioner for cultural heritage, university relations and territorial promotion of Venice, Stefano Campagnolo, Curator of National Library of St Mark’s and Claudio Scarpa, General Manager of Venetian Hotel Association. Wang Kunxin, Deputy Secretary-General of WTA, and Director of the World Tourism Museum (WTM), and the donors Ms. Ying Hong and Mr. Santoro respectively represented both sides to display the donation, the donation certificate and sign the Donation Agreement. The online participants on that day also included Liu Shijun, Secretary-General of WTA, Xu Rong, Cultural Counsellor of Chinese Embassy in Italy, Mario Izzi, Cultural Officer of Cultural Affairs Department of the Italian Embassy in China, Cristiano Varrotti, Director of the Shanghai Representative Office of the Italian National Tourist Board, and Elena Pinzi, Director of Tourism Marketing of DFS Group.
Duan Qiang, Chairman of WTA
Li Junhua, Chinese Ambassador to Italy
An ancient object starts a conversation of civilizations. In the 14th century, the traffic between China and western countries opened up. The traveler Marco Polo became a legend in the history of Sino-Italian cultural exchanges, opening a chapter of cultural exchange between the two countries. Today, 700 years later, Marco Polo’s Will (replica), which symbolizes the surviving evidence of Marco Polo’s coming to China, comes to the country again, a reproduction and innovation of history. It has been more than half a century since the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Italy. The donation ceremony is held at this important historical moment of linking past and future, which is the value embodiment of WTA serving as a bridge between China and western countries and carrying on the past and opening a way for the future. WTA and Italy have reached a consensus on the donation and preservation methods, and will jointly explore how to display and study this precious historical witness in the future.
Zheng Hao, Deputy Director-General of Bureau of International Exchange and Cooperation, Ministry of Culture and Tourism of China
Xu Peng, Deputy Director-General of Zhejiang Provincial Department of Culture and Tourism and Level I Bureau Rank Official
A donation ceremony represents a journey of the times. As the cooperation between China and Italy in jointly building The Belt and Road Initiative is furthered, the exchanges between the two countries in various fields have been continuously enhanced and yielded fruitful results. People-to-people exchanges are the highlight of China–Italy relations. Although the COVID-19 pandemic has greatly affected normal exchanges between the two countries, the pace of practical cooperation has not halted with the concerted efforts of both sides. The China-Italy Cultural & Tourism Year marks a good beginning for China-Italy cultural and tourism exchanges in the new era. Today’s donation ceremony of “Replica of Marco Polo’s Will” will promote China-Italy relations and become a future declaration of mutual learning and cultural blending between the two countries. With the rise of international influence, WTA is willing to build a solid bridge for the friendly relations between China and Italy and for the development of tourism, and to serve as an important platform in the cultural exchanges between the two countries.
Rosanna Binacchi, International Relations Office of the Ministry of Culture Heritage and Activities (Italy)
Laura Fincato, Former Member of Italian Parliament, Former Member of Italian Government and Former Alderwoman of Venice Government
Cristiano Corazzari, Councilor of the Veneto Region with Responsibility for Culture
The donation is a new voice and a new practice. As the outstanding representatives of eastern and western civilizations, China and Italy are both sources of civilization. Marco Polo’s related historical objects reflect the achievements of the evolution of the two civilizations and are important historical materials for studying the history of ancient tourism and the history of exchanges between eastern and western civilizations. General Secretary Xi Jinping said, “Cultural confidence represents a fundamental and profound force that sustains the development of a country and a nation.” While bringing the voice of China to the world, WTA values mutual respect and integration among civilizations, practices “cultural confidence” with cultural thinking, and constantly injects new elements into the long-term vitality of diversified cultures.
The donation ceremony on Venice Venue: Stefano Campagnolo, Curator of National Library of St Mark’s (first from left), Ferdinando Santoro, President of Italian company Scrinium (second from left), Ying Hong, Rotating Presidency of EFCT and President of Association of Chinese Tourism, Italy (third from left) Stefano Della Zana, Head of Cultural Relations of Scrinium (fourth from left)
Wang Kunxin, Deputy Secretary-General of WTA and Director of WTM
China and Italy are each other’s comprehensive strategic partners. They enjoy mutual benefits and win-win results in cooperation, appreciate each other in culture and help each other in difficulty. In the future, China will take the 50th anniversary of the restoration of its lawful seat in the United Nations as an opportunity to work with Italy and other countries around the world to uphold the international system based on multilateralism and contribute to the continued progress of human history in the right direction. As a comprehensive, non-governmental and non-profit international tourism organization, WTA will continue to focus on the development of cultural tourism industry in the world and provide innovative ideas and an exchange platform for exploring global cooperation in culture and tourism. It will continue to practice the concept of “tourism for poverty alleviation, development and peace” on a global scale, and continue to lead the world’s tourism industry to move forward in a healthy and sustainable direction.
Left side in the picture: Stefano Campagnolo, Curator of National Library of St Mark’s, showed the original “Marco Polo’s Will” to the outside world for the first time.
Right side in the picture: Ying Hong, President of Association of Chinese Tourism, Italy, and Stefano Della Zana, Head of Cultural Relations of Scrinium, displayed the Replica with an equal proportion of the original of the “Marco Polo’s Will”.