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Vice president of Swiss –Chinese Association: Kunming is a lively city

By : InKunming|Updated: 2011-07-11


Photo shows Ueli Merz,vice president of Swiss–Chinese Association at Green Lake in Kunming.[Provided to InKunming]

Ueli Merz, vice president of Swiss–Chinese Association, met Lynn, a reporter from InKunming at a café. He shared his opinions for his travel tour and suggestions for tourism in Yunnan on the morning of June 9. In the past 3 days, he came to Kunming for his second time for travelling. He is planning to organize some Swiss to Yunnan some time.

Swiss –Chinese Association aims to promote communication and cooperation between Switzerland and China in politics, economy, culture and education, etc. Most of its members are Swiss politicians and business people, as well as Chinese in Switzerland.

InKunming: Why did you choose Yunnan as a tourism destination for your tour?

Ueli: I have lived in Beijing. I organize groups of people to Beijing to do sighting. My type of sighting is a little bit different from regular tourists. I try to show tourists not only the famous places, like the Summer Palace, I also try to show them the real Beijing, like how it is today, the young people, the night life of Beijing, I try to find the special restaurants when other tourists don’t go, also I try not only to make it relaxing, but also manage to let them have good time.

With the same concept, I try to bring people to Yunnan. Kunming has a city partnership with Zurich where I live. And next year will be the thirtieth anniversary year of this. Since last year, Bai Enpei(白恩培) visited us as well as the mayor of Kunming. There are a lot of people coming here from Switzerland. Water specialists come here to develop projects on improving Dianchi Lake. The water problem is like what we have in my city 30 years ago. Most of these projects were started by Mr Wagner, our president of this association. He used to be the former mayor of Zurich, and he was also responsible for the public transportation and utilities. He brought in a lot of expertise to Kunming. And Kunming people also built the Chinese garden in Zurich, which was called the China Garden, which was like a gift from Kunming. I think it’s quite lively and good exchange on the high level. It’s easy to show the Swiss people what our partner city looks like. Too many Swiss people have never been to Kunming.

Secondly, Yunnan is one of the nicest places in China, because it is really diverse, I have only been only to Dali and Lijiang, but I think Yunnan offers so much more, I don’t know much about the rest of Yunnan. There are many opportunities for tourism in Yunnan, so we have to develop this place.

I want to show them many famous places, like Dali or some places of Kunming. But for temporary, I will not introduce Lijiang. It’s too crowed, commercial and noisy. It’s not real. I tried to go to some smaller places and smaller villages such as Shaxi, a small place between Lijiang and Dali. I think some places where you don’t find tour guides in the tour books are really unique.

When I am travelling in China, of course I like to see some temples, buildings, but mainly I am interested in daily life of China. That’s why I like to ask my local friends to show me in Kunming like where you go out, where you like, which places you like to go to eat. She (his escort interpretor, Miss Lv) showed me some streets, which are not famous, not fancy, but they have special characteristics.

I think Yunnan has nice places, but you really have to take time. Before I think about what kind of trips in Yunnan, I looked at the internet, and saw the Yunnan tour guides they had offered. I checked and many of these tourism in Kunming offer trips for one week, they go to Dali—Lijiang—Shangri-La and Kunming in one week, so that means the tourists are always moving, otherwise they can not do the large program in such short time. You never have time to sit down or just look around. It’s always going to one place from another. In my tour, I always want them to sit down to know a little bit about Yunnan, at least, every place two nights. Because otherwise if they have to change places every day, and check out the hotels in the morning and check-in in the evening, people never have the feelings to be at home and they think they are always carrying (luggage). In a whole day, you can take everything a little bit easier, so I call it quality travel. Sometimes most Chinese people, they come to Europe, they come maybe for 10 days, they want to see the whole Europe, they go to Germany, Italy, France, Switzerland```in 10 days. I mean I can show you Switzerland in 10 days, but you still can not see everything. Image 10 days in Europe, they are always in the bus. When they go to famous places, they only have maybe half an hour to see. But it seems Chinese tourists travel differently from European.

I think we really need to exploit Yunnan in a slow way; otherwise, you only get the tourist place. But if you open mind and take some time, go small roads and you will find some really great places.

Last 3 days in Yunnan, I mainly saw the regular life. In the markets, it’s little bit on the border of Kunming, huge farmer markets, and you will hardly see any foreigners there. It’s really a great place and has nice evening, like yesterday evening, I make some walking along this street to have some drinking. It’s really nice to see the young people, they are very lively and they play games in the bar, it’s really interesting. I like to be shown a lot of interesting things that tourism groups don’t do.

I think Kunming is actually not the most beautiful city, but I think you can see real life here. It’s really dynamic, I think, like most cities in China, it’s growing and changing with a lot of construction. But I think Kunming is a special city, because I think the government is very smart here to make good decisions, you know, like they talk about environment issues, they want to have quality tourism.

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