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Zang Aimin:Building a Sailing Capital to Promote Blue Economy

Building a Sailing Capital to Promote Blue Economy

Zang Aimin

Executive Vice President of Qingdao Olympic Sailing City Development Association,Vice President of Qingdao Major International Sailing Events (Festivals) Organizing Committee

Ladies and gentlemen,
It is my great honour to be here in this beautiful Olympic city right before the start of the London Olympic Games to share with everyone. Hereby, on behalf of the Qingdao Municipal Government and Qingdao Olympic Sailing City Development Association, I would like to express our sincere gratitude to those who have helped and supported the development of the Olympic project and sailing sports in Qingdao.
It was four years ago that Beijing demonstrated to the world a magnificent and unforgettable Olympic Games, and Qingdao presented the world with a passionate scene consisting of exciting sailing competition and cheerful audiences.
In the post-Olympic era, the Qingdao Municipal Government has focused on building Qingdao as the Sailing Capital of China and has included the development of sailing sports in its urban development strategy. In 2009, the Qingdao Municipal Government issued the Proposal on the Acceleration of the Development of Sailing Sports, jointly initiated the Qingdao International Sailing Week along with the Chinese State General Administration of Sports and several other departments, and established the Olympic Sailing Museum. These initiatives are aimed at carrying on the Olympic heritage, building a sailing city, promoting the popularity and improvement of sailing in China, and ensuring that Qingdao plays a significant role in promoting world sailing development.
1. To reinforce the utilization of the Olympic sailing venues on the basis of both public interest and economic benefit
The Qingdao Olympic Sailing Center has been listed as a Protected Cultural Site of Qingdao City, with its post-Olympic functions reflected in three major aspects as follow: first, utilize for the public good; second, use as a venue for competitions; and third, improve its driving force for tourism.
At present, dozens of activities with large or small scales are held annually at the Qingdao Olympic Sailing Center, and it has become the main venue for competitions, experience, training and exercise relevant to sailing sports. The 600 berths in the Sailing Center Marina have been handed to and run by the Qingdao International Yacht Club, which has become the largest international yacht club in China so far. Besides, the newly-built Olympic Sailing Museum was highly praised by Jacques Rogge, President of the IOC, and he said it is the best Olympic sailing museum he had ever seen.
With its functional transformation and free public access, the Olympic Sailing Center has transformed into a coastal tourism demonstration zone and a new tourism landmark that has gradually become the base for sailing, marine tourism, recreation, entertainment, catering, hospitality and cultural activities. It has been listed by National Tourism Administration as the first and only “National Coastal Tourism and Recreation Demonstration Zone.”
2. To accelerate the integration of sailing and urban life based on sailing popularization among citizens especially teenagers.
The survival and flourishing of a sport is based on public participation. Since the “Promoting Sailing in Schools” program launched in 2006, we have seen spectacular results: 93 sailing schools established, 1000 sail boats were allocated to each school, more than 13,000 young sailors received training and more than 3,200 youth obtained sailing certifications. The International Olympic Committee, International Sailing Federation, Chinese Yachting Association and many other organizations have spoken highly of this program. The Chinese State General Administration of Sports awarded Qingdao the title of “Model City for Popularizing Sailing among Teenagers”. Göran Petersson, President of the International Sailing Federation, praised Qingdao as one of the best cities in popularizing sailing among teenagers. Qingdao has implemented “Welcome On Board” program within the city to popularize sailing among citizens since 2010. During the past two years, 110,000 citizens have participated in sailing experience activities, and the participants will reach 300,000 in 2015.
3. To develop high-end sailing sport through holding international events.
A first-class Sailing City requires top sailing competitions. In 2006, the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race landed in Qingdao for the first time. By 2016, Qingdao will be the only city in the world to have hosted the Clipper Race for six consecutive times. The Volvo Ocean Race first arrived in Qingdao in 2009. In the same year, the City Clubs Open Regatta, a first-class ISAF event, was founded in Qingdao. In 2011, the Extreme Sailing Series settled in Qingdao, and will be held there for four consecutive years. This year, Qingdao is named as the Asian Venue for the ISAF Sailing World Cup 2013/2014, becoming the first Asian city to host the event. In addition, the Mayor's Cup Qingdao International Yacht Race, Qingdao International Regatta, Qingdao International Optimist Sailing Training Camp and Regatta have been developed as brands. Qingdao has evolved into a gathering place for all kinds of top international sailing races and a city holding the most sailing events in Asia.
4. To promote urban culture brand via international communication.
Sailboat is the bridge for communication. Since 2009, the Qingdao International Sailing Week has been regularly held every year, using cultural exchange and sailing events as core themes for building a platform for international sailing cultural exchange. With 8 sections and more than 50 activities, this event has become the greatest sailing festival in Asia. Among which, the international cultural exchange programmes and events such as the Olympic Sailing City Mayors and International Sailing Summit Forum, World Sailing Celebrities Series, and Exhibition on International Excellent Sailing Cultural Works have attracted hundreds of VIPs and thousands of athletes from over 20 countries and regions. Along with the ISAF, continental sailing organizations, national sailing organizations, Olympic Sailing Cities, and sailboat racing organizing committees etc., Qingdao announced the “Declaration on International Sailing Sports,” and with delegates from Chinese coastal cities we signed the “Domestic Coastal Cities Strategic Agreement on Sailing Sport.”
Besides, Qingdao International Sailing Week has also formed a collaborative relationship with Kiel Week and Brest Maritime Festival. The Qingdao Yachting Association has also built good relations with various sailing organizations in Germany, Belgium, Sweden, Japan, and South Korea.
5. To create new advantage of blue economy with the backup of sailing industry.
The construction of the Shandong Peninsula Blue Economic Zone is officially part of China's national strategy, with Qingdao being designated as the leading city in the center of the region. Sailing sport is a compound industry integrating tourism, sport, culture and exhibition. The booming of China's sailing sports has resulted in the rapid rise of the sailing industry. It is predicted that by 2015, the scale of the Chinese sailing yacht market consumption will reach RMB 300 billion. Today, Qingdao is home to 28 sailing clubs and more than 50 sailing and yachting manufacturing businesses. The manufacturing businesses in Qingdao are undertaking the construction of 14 Clipper round-the-world yachts worth RMB 120 million. The social influence and economic benefits of the China International Maritime Expo have increased quickly year by year.  At the same time, marine tourism is becoming a popular tourist activity. Featured by sailing popularization tourism, yacht and luxury cruises, the tourist industry will integrate the development of sailing sports and high-end tourism into one.

Ladies and gentlemen,
This forum serves as a platform for us to carry on the Olympic spirit, gather wisdom from all parties, and promote urban development. Qingdao is willing to develop all-round and multiple exchange and collaboration with all Olympic Games Cities and Olympic Sailing Cities. We expect to promote cultural exchange and boost the Olympic Games. We hope to enhance the cooperation on sailing sports with other cities, founding and participating in intercity sailing competitions and exchange activities, as well as working together to foster a race brand of distinctive features. We also wish to work with all cities to carefully plan and organize Qingdao International Sailing Week to make it a brand event of Qinngdao with unique characteristics of the city based on the Olympic legacy.

Distinguished guests,
The Olympic spirit referred to mutual understanding, friendship, solidarity and fair competition, together with the fearless spirit of sailing and conquering the ocean, is a common dream for the whole world. With the vast and magnificent blue ocean ahead of us, the prospect for sailing sports is unlimited. We look forward to cooperating with you, turning our consensus into the power to promote Olympic development. Let us sail together and create a better future for the Olympic Games, global sailing sports, and urban development.
Thank you, everyone!

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