BEIJING, July 17, 2012 /PRNewswire-Asia/ -- One adventurous Chinese couple has just returned from a once-in-a-lifetime discovery of Canada as another couple jet-off, having both won the first 'Canada - You Can Be a Star Competition' organised by the Canadian Tourism Commission (CTC) in Beijing.
Outgoing girlfriends He Lu from Guangdong and Shangguan Longzhe from Sichuan and intrepid father-daughter team Sun Dong and Sun Shuo from Beijing were selected from over 5,000 couples entering the contest at www.keepexploring.cn.
Their adventurous and fun-loving spirits and passion to explore the best of Canada sends them on exciting adventures experiencing Canada's 'Signature Experiences Collections' marketed in China.
They are also sharing their experiences via daily online blogs and video postings and starring in 5 episodes in the TV series "Discovery in Canada", airing from 19 July 2012 on China's Travel Channel. The couples also each won a grand prize of RMB 30,000.
Meet the Winning Couples
He Lu from Guangdong and Shangguan Long-zhe from Sichuan have taken a year off from successful careers in marketing to "travel and enjoy life". And what a way to start! They have just returned from their all-expenses-paid discovery of Canada and were thrilled by the experience. "The scenery was breathtaking and the wonderful memories of our experiences will stay with us forever," said He Lu.
They started in Alberta, exploring the provincial capital of Calgary before journeying to the Rocky Mountains and experiencing life as cowgirls at Rafter Six Ranch. In Banff, they enjoyed exquisite spa pampering at Fairmont Banff Springs, toured the UNESCO World Heritage National Park and Columbia Glacier Parkway, and went fishing and boating on Lake Minnewanka.
They rode the Jasper Tramway, the highest and longest tramway in Canada, and experienced the thrill of rafting on the Athabasca River. In Edmonton, they visited West Edmonton Mall – North America's largest shopping and entertainment centre – and experienced a sea lion show, bungee jumping and Segway River tour.
Beginning their adventure in early July, the second winners are senior government agency official Sun Dong and his daughter Sun Shuo, who recently graduated from university with a Finance degree. The elder Sun has happy memories of studying in Canada 20 years ago and this inspired his daughter to want to explore Canada.
The family team discovers Ontario and the unique French culture of Quebec, after joining Centennial celebrations of the iconic Calgary Stampede in Alberta from 6-15 July 2012.
The 'Greatest Show on Earth' showcases the world's most spectacular outdoor horse-riding, thrilling chuck wagon races, world-class rodeo and live music. Among new highlights for the centennial, an 'Equine Spectacular' showcases the best in western horsemanship and incredible sets and effects. The largest fireworks display in Canada will light the sky each night.
At one of Canada's largest music festivals, Stampede Saddledome concerts headline Canadian country superstar Johnny Reid, 'Entertainer of the Year' Brad Paisley and country music superstar Paul Brandt.
In the fairground, a new rollercoaster named Outlaw! in memory of the legendary bull Outlaw, considered one of the rankest animals in the world of rodeo, blasts riders out of chutes. Thrill-seekers speed 60km/hr down an 850-foot Zip Line, the longest in Canada, across Stampede Park.
In the national capital, Ottawa, they learn the story of Canada from a captivating Sound & Light Show projected onto the Parliament Buildings. A tour of the Canadian Museum of Civilization discovers the world's largest indoor collection of totem poles. At Aboriginal Experiences on Victoria Island in the Ottawa River they learn about traditional legends and crafts, and at vibrant ByWard Market discover one of Canada's oldest public markets.
At Wheeler's Maple Sugar Camp & Museum they find out how one of Canada's great delicacies is produced. Beside Lake Ontario, at Fort Henry National Historic Site of Canada, they will shoot vintage weapons. At the St Lawrence River's scenic 1,000 Islands they enjoy spa pampering at Gananoque Inn & Spa, a grand Victorian hotel, and steer a river cruiser at Rockport.
Discovering breathtaking Algonquin Provincial Park by canoe and hiking trails, they stay at Arowhon Pines Hotel.
Continuing to historic Gravernhurst, they visit Bethune Memorial House, birthplace of Dr. Norman Bethune, remembered for his heroic work in China as a field surgeon and medical educator.
Their tour continues to Niagara Falls for awe-inspiring views aboard The Maid of the Mist, one of the oldest tourist attractions in North America. Niagara Helicopters transfers them to Chateau des Charmes winery, before browsing the historic town of Niagara-on-the-Lake.
Ending their journey in Toronto, they explore St. Lawrence Market, one of the world's great markets, and go up the 553.33m CN Tower, defining the skyline as Canada's National Tower. EdgeWalk is CN Tower's most thrilling attraction, the world's highest full circle hands-free walk on a 1.5 m wide ledge encircling the top.
The Ontario adventure ends at the Toronto summer festival including The Hot & Spicy Food Festival, Brazilfest Toronto and Beaches International Jazz Festival.
Their discovery of Quebec begins in Montreal, attending the Piknic Electronik outdoor electronic music festival, Montreal Completement Cirque festival and Jeu de Cirque on the city streets. A city tour takes in the downtown area, Sherbrooke Street, Place des Arts, Mount Royal Park, St. Joseph's Oratory, the distinctive houses of Plateau Mont-Royal and Jean-Talon Market, Old Montreal and Notre-Dame Basilica, a masterpiece of Gothic Revival architecture.
Jet boating follows on the Lachine Rapids of the St. Lawrence River, followed by dinner in Chinatown. The Montreal Biodome offers a close encounter with its four Ecosystems of the Americas, where over 4,800 animals from 230 different species and 750 plant types coexist under the same roof, from lynx, beavers, and otters in a Laurentian Maple Forest to penguins and auks in Sub-Antarctic Islands. At Montréal Insectarium they discover the fascinating world of North America's insects, with 160,000 living and naturalized insect specimens, an ant farm, a bumblebee hive, a honeybee hive and many other spellbinding vivariums.
They ascend Montreal Tower at Olympic Park for a spectacular view of the city from the top of the tallest inclined tower in the world, followed by a tour of Maisonneuve Market, and circus performance at TOHU.
In Quebec City they tour beauty shots including Montmorency Falls Park and historic Quartier Petit Champlain with gourmet treats on Ile d'Orleans. An outing to the mountainous Charlevoix region is highlighted by a Bee Safari discovering a fascinating universe making honey. Canoeing follows in the grandiose landscape of Hautes-Gorges-de-la-Riviere-Malbaie National Park, with a taste of local products at l'Orange Bistro.
Their journey ends in the beautiful Laurentians region, staying in a pedestrian village where the Tremblant Blues festival is in full swing.
The adventures can be seen in real-time via the CTC Weibo feed at http://e.weibo.com/canadatravel.
Second Round of Voting Begins - You Could Still Be a Star!
The second round of the 'Canadian Explorers Competition' is now underway, seeking winners to travel to British Columbia in early August 2012.
Residents of China aged over 21 have a chance to win the all expenses paid trip and become a TV travel show 'star', also pocketing RMB 30,000.
Over 4,000 entries have already been received, with the deadline open until 15 July 2012 for submitting entries at www.keepexploring.cn to answer the question: "Why choose me to be a TV Star?" And don't forget to get your friends to register and to vote as 15 of the top 25 finalists are selected entirely by public vote. As added incentive, if one or more of your friends signs up for the competition based on your invitation, you will be eligible to win great prizes. If your invited friend wins the competition - you could win an iPhone!
Entries and uploaded entertaining videos can be submitted via the online competition platform and 25 finalists will be short listed in Beijing for a final audition and TV screen test in front of CTC's celebrity judging panel.
Those who applied for the first round of competition (including finalists) can also still apply for subsequent rounds. Registered users can improve their chances by uploading new pictures and videos.
CTC is also embracing the latest promotional tool on Chinese social media platform Weibo - the Weibo Ad App - as yet another example of CTC pioneering latest technology in marketing to Chinese consumers online.
"We see this competition as a unique platform to establish closer ties with Chinese travellers, providing a truly impressive showcase of the fascinating and endless adventures that Canada offers," says Derek Galpin, Managing Director of CTC China.
Since China granted Canada Approved Destination Status, the Canadian Tourism Commission has significantly boosted efforts to promote Canada to Chinese travelers. In 2011, Canada welcomed approximately 243,692 visitors from China - a remarkable increase of 25 percent over 2010. The Canadian Tourism Commission anticipates equally promising growth in 2012.
About the Canadian Tourism Commission
The CTC is Canada's national tourism marketing organization, with a vision to inspire the world to explore Canada. Working with partners in the tourism industry and the governments of Canada, the provinces and the territories, the CTC advertises and promotes Canada in 11 countries around the world. In China, the CTC has opened an office in the capital city, Beijing.
Issued by Grebstad Hicks Communications on behalf of Canadian Tourism Commission
SOURCE Canadian Tourism Commission