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Sponsored by local and federal authorities, Chinese internet stars make 7-day trip through Belgium

12 Chinese internet stars, who boast some 50 million followers in China, are making a 7-day trip through Belgium. They started with Antwerp on Tuesday, where the fashion industry was highlighted during a meeting with fashion designer Christan Wijnants. Next up were Spa-Francorchamps, Durbuy, the Atomium and Brussels. It is hoped that this investment will further boost Chinese tourism in Belgium. 

The visit was set up as part of the project "Treasure Hunters Europe" of the Belgian-Chinese company Atlas International Culture. It has the support of the Belgian regions, the federal government and the city of Antwerp. "Last year, we set up a similar programme, which triggered a lot of interaction on Chinese social media", explains Caroline Joris of the campaign "Belgium, uniquely phenomenal."

Internet users are hard to reach directly by the Belgian tourist board, since the Chinese social media are made up of different platforms, such as the microblogsite Weibo, the livestream app Yizhibo and WeChat, the Chinese version of WhatsApp or Messenger, a giant which boasts an estimated 1 billion million users.

The Chinese internet celebrities will attend a chocolate workshop, a private dinner in the Atomium and visit the Belgian Comics Art Museum in Brussels

Participants travelled from Antwerp to Wallonia, where they visited the Spa-Francorchamps racing circuit and Durbuy, Belgium's smallest city. After Namur and Luxembourg, they will move on to Brussels, where they can look forward to a chocolate workshop, a private dinner in the Atomium and a visit to the Belgian Comics Art Museum that highlights Belgium's long comic strip tradition. 

"I like the weather, traditional culture,  the food, the people", one celebrity told the VRT. It's the Belgian federal, regional and local authorities who are sponsoring the whole trip. In return, they hope to boost attract extra tourists.  "When Chinese tourists are travelling through Europe, we see that they only spend little time in Belgium.", explains Caroline Joris. "We would of course like to see them stay a bit longer. Working with influencers, we don't need to tell the Chinese media that Belgium is phenomenal. The influencers can do this for us." Joris underlines the "huge potential" of the Chinese market. 

Watch the video below:

We see that Chinese tourists travelling through Europe only stop in Belgium a short while

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