I’m back in London now and have had time to reflect on the success of our trip to China. In just under three days, we made great strides in bringing our nations closer together through sport, creativity and culture.
We showcased the best of Britain and did it justice – every face in the room was mesmerised when the National Theatre’s Joey the “War Horse” galloped into the Shanghai Exhibition Centre.
On the final day of the trip we went up to the city of Chengdu which is famous for its Chengdu Panda research base. China is deeply protective of their pandas, and rightly so, they are rare and remarkable creatures. I’m told there is a 24-hr panda-cam. Do take a look.
Another highlight in Chengdu was the Jinsha Relics Museum. The fascinating, ivory, gold and jade exhibits were the first major archaeological discovery in China in the new millennium and yet another example of China’s rich and captivating history.
In the here and now, China is an incredibly exciting country – as one of the fastest growing markets in the world it’s teeming with innovation, diversity, energy and opportunity. It’s brilliant to think Britain can be a part of that – forging ties with China will truly help us to compete in the global race.
I am confident that we can continue to build on our relationship with China, whether it’s seeing Chinese theatre lighting up the stage at the Edinburgh Festival or British football changing the lives of China’s young people.
The opportunities for our architects, designers, artists, film-makers, musicians, TV producers and games industry are enormous, and if we build strong lasting partnerships, they will lead to many more highly skilled jobs and economic growth for the UK.
I was incredibly proud that the creative and cultural industries were at the heart of this trip and it was inspiring that so many of the top people in these fields dedicated the time and enthusiasm to help promote Britain.
Of course there are a number of challenges that we must continue to work closely on but we are well on our way to not only making Britain the most attractive destination in Europe for Chinese visitors but establishing a unique cultural and creative partnership that will go from strength to strength.