DCSIMG

China link bid despite visas delay misery

Members of the Blackpool Chinese Community Association at an official welcome reception during their visit to Sanya in China.

Members of the Blackpool Chinese Community Association at an official welcome reception during their visit to Sanya in China.

Blackpool is forging ahead with moves to formally link up with the Chinese city of Sanya - despite council officials being forced to miss a planned trip to the resort last month.

Members of the Blackpool Chinese Community Association spent five days meeting delegates in Sanya and neighbouring Haitang Bay.

It had been hoped town hall leaders could also have taken part in the visit, but difficulties in obtaining embassy clearance for an official delegation put the trip on hold.

Coun Simon Blackburn, leader of Blackpool Council, said: “A delegation of community representatives visited the Sanya region of China. Unfortunately however it was not possible to arrange all the necessary clearances in time for the business and council delegation to join them.

“We are still keen to develop links with Sanya and I understand a contingent is planning to visit Blackpool later this year.

“I hope our relationship with Sanya will develop to be mutually beneficial and that a return business trip to Sanya can be rearranged for future date.”

Peter Lui, chief executive of the Blackpool Chinese Community Association, which saw 10 of its members take part in the visit, said he hoped to forge educational links between the two resorts.

He said: “We had a very full on schedule which included a formal welcome, and visits to schools.

“One of my priorities is to bring a teacher over here from Sanya to teach mandarin in Blackpool schools.

“Sanya is taking tourism very seriously, and I think there is also potential for a student exchange scheme.

“Before we went out there, Blackpool hosted the British open ballroom dance championships so I took a programme and some brochures out to show people.”

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Blackpool announced last year that it hopes to formally twin with Sanya.

The city is considered to be China’s version of Hawaii and has a population of 658,408.

Sanya is said to be interested in Blackpool because of its tourism heritage and its fame as the ballroom capital of the world.

Mr Lui is appealing for schools to contact him on 07725 014018 if they are interested in teaching mandarin.

He hopes to get up to five schools involved in a programme.

 

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