Organizers of the annual Beijing Marathon have been invited to participate at the Great Ethiopian Run (GER) to held on Sunday, an Ethiopian official said on Thursday.

Race Director Ermias Ayele said the invitation has been extended to two officials from Beijing Marathon as well as an official at the Chinese Athletics Federation.

Ayele further said the invitation to officials from Beijing Marathon and Chinese athletics federation to participate in the annual 10km road race is part of a wider strategy to introduce the athletics event to a wider Chinese audience.

The 42.195km Beijing annual road race, which started in 1981, is a prestigious athletics event attracting the best athletes from the globe.

Six males and four female Ethiopian athletes have so far won the marathon event, including Meselech Beyene who won the women’s title on September 17.

“We’re working with the likes of the national flag carrier Ethiopian Airlines to introduce GER as a tourist attraction to Chinese visitors,” said Ayele.

Chinese tourists are a rising demographics with the East African country attracting 43,965 Chinese tourists in 2016, a trend the Ethiopian government expects to grow in the coming years.

Great Ethiopian Run was initiated in 2001 by Ethiopian running legend Haile Gebreselassie as part of his efforts to turn running from an elite sport into a hobby of life.

The athletics event since then has become the largest of its kind in Africa with this year’s race expected to attract 47,500 runners including 2,000 foreigners.