Want to Be an Ambassador in China? Here's How
Ever wondered whether you have what it takes to be an ambassador? It’s not as hypothetical a question as it sounds. The tourism board of Hangzhou, China, went looking for its first foreign ambassador for Chinese tourism with a global reality-style competition—including voting. Think: “The Voice” meets the State Department with a little bit of YouTube thrown in.
The contestants have been winnowed down to five finalists, and the winner will be announced on May 20.
While Hangzhou, China, might not ring a bell, the name Marco Polo likely does—the Italian merchant was one of the first Westerners to visit the city back in the 13th century, and he came away impressed. He called Hangzhou the “City of Heaven” and “the most beautiful and magnificent in the world.”
The water ways of Hangzhou. (Photo: Thinkstock)
Members of the tourism board thought that a search for the “Modern Marco Polo” would capture the imagination of travel buffs around the world. They were right. The contest opened in March of last year, and 26,000 hopefuls applied.
The job, which pays 40,000 euros (about $55,400), is a one-year gig. The winner gets a 15-day trip to Hangzhou and will follow in the footsteps of Marco Polo—minus a meeting with Kublai Khan—before promoting the city on social media. Points of interest might include the Grand Canal (no wonder Venetian Marco Polo was a fan), the Six Harmonies Pagoda, and the China Tea Museum.
The China Tea Museum has tea gardens and tea houses to visit and historic tea pots from various dynasties on display. (Courtesy: The China Tea Museum)