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80th FICC International Rally Beijing, China, 2014

The 80th FICC International Rally was held in Beijing, China, from May 30th to June 9th, 2014, at the "International Motorcaravanning Longwan Campsite", Yanqing County (Beijing).

This unforgettable meeting was attended by the majority of the FICC Council (Fédération International de Camping, Caravaning et Autocaravaning); that was also the venue where they held the Council Meeting, usually celebrated at international FICC rallies.
Members of the FICC who attended the event
Joao Alves Pereira, President, Portugal;
Norman Taylor, Councillor, UK;
Martin Gavan, Councillor and Chairman of the Statutes Commission, Ireland;
José Iglesias González, Councillor and Chairman of the Motorcaravanning Commission, Spain;
Lars Häll Councillor, Sweden;
Yvan Lafontaine, Councillor, Canada;
Bülent Karaboncuk Councillor, Turkey;
Lars Dahlberg, Honorary President, Finland;
Torgeir Strommen, Treasurer, Norway.
Members from Federations and Clubs: Irene Vai, National Secretary of the "Confederazione Italiana Campeggiatori" attended the meeting as well as other members from Europe, Asia and America.

It was an excellent opportunity to visit and learn about Chinese culture. The organizing team prepared a wonderful encounter with a large selection of tours and unforgettable experiences on the most popular sites, including the Great Wall at Badaling village, the best preserved of all.

The mission of the organizers
The aim of this meeting was based on the support of camping culture and recreational vehicles, among which there is a bright future for motorhomes; advocating for environmental protection, energy saving, natural activities and free entertainment; promotion of friendship and exchange between motorhome and caravan users worldwide, stimulating the growth of tourism industry throughout China with immediate initiatives to be applied in order to obtain long term results.

On the other hand, there are plans to facilitate development and assistance to manufacturers of recreational vehicles (caravans, motorhomes, campers, etc.). Thus, by applying this method, they expect to increase the local economy in camping and caravanning activity, including motorhome stopovers or rest areas as a new engine for economic growth.

Appreciation
The welcoming from the organizers for all participants can be described as extraordinary, their kindness and willingness to meet the demands of participants lasted through the whole rally.
Indeed entertainment was very interesting and enjoyable, providing that particular component of the Chinese culture with deployment of groups with their colourful costumes and fireworks.
The food in the hotel restaurant (situated in the camping ground) was varied and of good quality. In addition, the participants noted that the buffet had the typical Chinese meals and a wide selection of vegetables, some of them really delicious and unknown to westerners. Regarding to the cutlery, the restaurant provided (apart from the sticks for those who wanted to try) spoons, knives and forks every day as part of the service.
Actually it was a unique experience in which most participants agreed not only in the interest of participation, but also because it marked a turning point in the internationalization of motorhomes, RV's and camping in China promising a bright future for the country (with a potential of 1.5 billion people, approx.) and, ultimately, this trend is the start of a positive cultural exchange opening doors to Europe and other continents.

Concerning alcoholic beverages in China, the western habit of beer drinking can be prohibitive for some pockets. Especially if consumed in a hotel or restaurant (equivalent 4 stars) in Beijing, price per bottle of beer can be around € 12 to 14, not to mention the price of wine.
Regarding to wine in China, they have their own production, known as "Dragon's Hollow" commonly called "Dragon's Wine". This marvellous nectar is made with grapes from the region of "Ningxia Hui" in the "Helan Shan" mountain range; frankly, its quality was a very pleasant surprise. Well, this wine is successfully exporting to a good number of countries worldwide.

As stories should completed, one should explain that the production of this wine in China is thanks to the efforts of an American billionaire, David Henderson, who was determined to find a place with similar climate and soil characteristics of California. He certainly found it, the conclusion of experienced winemakers is that the mentioned area can produce even better wines than in California. Read more about the wines of China in the following link: http://www.asianpalate.com/