Italian embassy names Chinese actor Liu Haoran as tourism ambassador

Source:Global Times Published: 2019/3/1 20:11:40

Ettore Sequi (right), Ambassador of Italy to China, and Chinese actor Liu Haoran Photo: Fu Ya

The Italian Embassy to China named Chinese pop star Liu Haoran as the 2019 Official Chinese Ambassador of Tourism in Italy on Thursday.

Liu, 22, is known for films and TV series like the Detective Chinatown series, Legend of the Demon Cat (2017) and Nirvana in Fire 2 (2017). 

Often appearing as bright and energetic, Liu currently has over 27 million followers on his personal Sina Weibo account. 

A few days ago, he also stood out in the Chinese market for the Hollywood animated film How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World (2019) in which he voices the lead character Hiccup in the film's Chinese version. 

"I think he is the right person [to introduce Italy to the Chinese people] because he is a charming, very curious and very popular young man. I think he can really interpret the feelings of Chinese youth," Ettore Sequi, Ambassador of Italy to China, told the Global Times Thursday.

He added that the Chinese youth are very impressive to him, as they are "very active, curious, and positive."

"They have a lot of curiosity for life, for the world and they like to travel and innovate," Sequi said.

Liu admitted that before shooting the promotional film, he had not been to Italy, but the Italian movie Malèna (2000) had a major influence on his career choice to become an actor.

Liu also mentioned that he is a fan of traveling and delicious food, and he likes to explore the world.  

"Because many of us today live within a small circle, traveling is a very good way to broaden one's view and knowledge,"Liu explained. 

He further added that while introducing Italy to the Chinese he also hopes he can serve as a bridge of communication for Italians who want to better understand China. 

According to a 2018 report released by Chinese travel agency Tuniu, Italy is among the most popular destinations in Europe for Chinese tourists, along with France, Germany and the UK. 

The first six months of 2018 saw the number of tourist visas issued by the Italian Embassy in China to the Chinese rose by 30 percent, Guangming Daily reported in October 2018.  

Sequi, who has been the Ambassador of Italy to China for over three years, noted that the number of Chinese tourists in Italy have been rising over the years. "What is really starting to increase is the number of individual tourists who want a tailor-made vacation," he said. 

He explained that the Chinese tourists are becoming more "refined," and are not only interested in traditional destinations like Rome, but also want a deeper experience of the Italian culture and lifestyle. 

To provide better service to the rising number of Chinese tourists, Sequi said the Italian government is upgrading their services, such as allowing visa issuance within 36 hours, opening 11 more visa centers around China, and promoting Alipay and WeChat payments in Italy. 

"[We also have] joint patrolling of Chinese and Italian police in Italy. As tourists, we can hardly expect to see our policemen in a foreign country patrolling," Sequi added. 


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