Weihai is a coastal city on the north east side of the Shandong Peninsular of the People’s Republic of China. Surrounded by sea on three sides it has developed into a flourishing port and major fishing centre.
Weihai has a population of around 600,000. However the total population of the city and the area it administers approaches 2.5 million. Weihai is a health spa with hot mineral springs and this, together with its maritime climate of mild winters and moderate summers, its attractive mountain scenery and good beaches, make it a famous summer resort and tourist centre, attracting over a million visitors a year.
Industry in Weihai is well developed, with over 1,400 industrial enterprises. Products include textiles, machinery, electronic components, chemicals, plastics, timepieces, and building materials. Weihai is also a rich and fertile agricultural area and grows wheat, maize, peanuts, apples and grapes. It is a scientific and educational centre, with more than 50 scientific research institutes and four universities.
Cheltenham’s link with Weihai was initiated in 1985 and a formal Protocol Agreement for the promotion of understanding and friendship between the people of Cheltenham and Weihai was signed by the Mayors of the towns in July 1987. The Council granted full twinning status to the link in 1998.
The link is overseen by the locally run society ‘The Weihai Link‘. The link aims to promote cultural, economic, educational and friendship links between the people of the two towns. Exchange visits have taken place and joint venture business agreements have been established.
In April 2012, the Mayor of Cheltenham, Councillor Barbara Driver, led a party of people from the town on a touristic, cultural and educational visit to Weihai at their own expense. Shortly after this visit, an official delegation from Weihai came to Cheltenham on the occasion of the Olympic Torch Relay event in May 2012 at Cheltenham Racecourse.
A visit to Weihai in November 08 and May 09 by Gloucestershire primary and secondary head teachers, funded by the British Council, led to the establishment of valuable educational links with Weihai schools for our local young people and annual groups of Weihai students also now come to Gloucestershire College’s international summer schools to improve their English.