A partnership was forged between the Isle of Wight and the city of Enshi in western China, when a delegation from the office of the mayor of Enshi visited the Island on Wednesday (June 6th).
The chair of the Isle of Wight Council, Lora Peacey-Wilcox, greeted the mayor of Enshi Su Yong and other Chinese officials at a civic reception in County Hall, Newport.
A memorandum of agreement was signed to outline the proposed partnership, which will focus on sharing knowledge, promoting collaboration between the two territories, and looking to develop a programme of exchange between businesses, students and organisations.
The link with Enshi came through mainland firm Cambridge International Education Ltd whose primary role is arranging student study and exchanges.
While planning a visit to the UK, officials from Enshi became interested in the Isle of Wight.
In particular they expressed an interest in the Island’s ability to accommodate and host large events such as music festivals and Cowes Week; along with the strong and diverse tourism offer.
The Enshi officials made contact with the Isle of Wight Council, and as a result the mayor was invited to visit the Island by council leader Dave Stewart.
Wayne Whittle, Cabinet member for business development, regeneration and tourism, said: “As an island we have begun an ambitious programme of regeneration and we are very keen to share our experience with others involved in a similar journey, and to learn from them.
“We have specific priorities to build on our successful digital industries and to attract students to choose the Isle of Wight as a place to further their studies when based in the United Kingdom.
“I was very proud to show off our wonderful Island to the mayor and his colleagues, and I look forward to a productive relationship with the city of Enshi.”
Mr Xiong Zhu, director of the Enshi bureau of tourism and development, said: “We are delighted to be able to visit your beautiful island and promote it as a place to stay for Chinese visitors – we also hope to develop links on lots of other issues that are important to us both.”