IZMIR, Türkiye, Feb. 1 (Xinhua) -- Türkiye's western port city of Izmir is keen to strengthen exchanges with Chinese cities to attract more tourists in the post-pandemic era, city mayor Tunc Soyer said.
Stressing the Chinese market's importance for his city, Soyer told Xinhua in a recent interview that Izmir will try to attract more Chinese visitors to the Aegean coastal city after the Asian country's optimization of its response policies to the COVID-19 pandemic in January.
"We sincerely believe that people-to-people relations are the real security for peace and the sustainable relations between countries," he said.
Izmir is the third largest city in Türkiye and has three sister cities in China, namely, Tianjin, Wuhan, and Xiamen.
In September 2019, Izmir signed a letter of intent with Chengdu, the capital city of Sichuan Province in southwest China, on the sidelines of the Izmir International Trade Fair, of which China was a partner country, according to the website of Izmir Municipality. The two cities agreed to further cooperation in the sectors of tourism, urban infrastructure, as well as fairs and cultural organizations, among other areas.
According to Soyer, a delegation from Chengdu was invited to Izmir to discuss cooperation in the tourism sector about three years ago, when the two sides talked about the possibility of opening an Izmir office in Chengdu and a Chengdu office in Izmir. However, the plan was suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Izmir will invite delegations from Chengdu to the city to discuss business opportunities for travel agencies on both sides, according to Soyer.
"We will restart from where we stopped," Soyer said, adding "these offices will work together and explore all the opportunities and possibilities for our people."