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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
China's travel industry to rival U.S. -report

BEIJING, April 25 (Reuters) - China will grab the world's second-largest share of global travel and tourism spending after the United States by 2016, an industry body said in a report published this week.

"We're all running very fast to keep up with the changes that are taking place," the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) quoted its president, Jean-Claude Baumgarten, as saying at the launch of the group's report just three years after its last one.

"Although we would normally wait five or even 10 years before returning to a country to update the report, it is clear that China's travel and tourism industry is moving at the speed of light," he said.

The WTTC report for China, Hong Kong and Macau forecast that China's tourism demand -- comprised of consumption, investment, government spending and exports -- will grow by an average 8.7 percent per annum between 2007 and 2016.

It said China's tourism demand will grow by 14 percent this year alone to 2.77 trillion yuan ($345.7 billion).

Foreign visitors' spending will account for 588.2 billion yuan ($73.41 billion), representing 7.4 percent of China's total exports in 2006, the report said.

Travel and tourism will directly account for 2.9 percent of China's total GDP in 2006, and its combined direct and indirect economic impact is expected to account for 13.7 percent.

China's tourism industry will directly employ over 17 million people, with related employment from capital investment and government spending to total over 77 million jobs in 2006.

The report made a raft of recommendations to improve China's tourism and travel industry, including establishing paid vacations to encourage Chinese workers to travel more and promoting English language skills.

Despite the rapid growth of the country's tourism industry, China remains a challenging destination for international visitors due to poor infrastructure and a dearth of foreign language skills. ($1=8.012 Yuan)
 

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Chinese flee overseas for lunar new year cheer

BEIJING, Feb 14 (Reuters Life!) - Clutching plane tickets in the teeming departure hall of Beijing airport, Wang Wei is happy he isn't going to his hometown for Chinese New Year.

The 36-year-old engineer is one of thousands escaping China's frosty northern winter and defying the tradition of spending the lunar new year holiday with family at home.

"Of course, we will miss seeing the parents and relatives, but it will be nice to get some warm weather in Thailand," Wang said, as he corralled his family around him. The lunar new year starts on Feb. 18.

The trickle of outward bound tourists may be swamped by the more than 2 billion domestic bus, train and boat trips ferrying people between hometowns and adopted cities -- a phenomenon dubbed the "world's greatest human migration".

But as incomes rise, China's swelling ranks of cashed-up pleasure-seekers have taken to overseas travel with gusto.

Liang Yuli, a travel agent with state-run China International Travel Service, said her office sold out most tickets to overseas flights a month before the lunar new year starts on Feb. 18.

"The demand for overseas travel this year has been incredible," said Liang. "It was quite unexpected... People want to go overseas simply because they can now."

Most Chinese employees are still confined to three, state-sanctioned "golden" weeks of holidays falling in May, October and the start of the lunar new year in early spring.

But instead of spending them with family as usual, more and more Chinese are opting to go abroad to shop, see the sites or lounge on a palm-fringed beach instead.

The number of overseas trips has soared over the past decade, with some 35 million trips in 2006 compared to 620,000 trips in 1990, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.

With the average disposable income rising, and the yuan steadily gaining against the U.S. dollar, more Chinese can now afford to travel abroad.

Travel restrictions have also loosened in recent years. From having only six approved countries to visit in 1999, tourists can choose from 129 as of December 2006.

ITCHY FEET

Chinese tourists used to make forays mainly to nearby countries like South Korea, Thailand and Malaysia, but now South Africa, Egypt and even Malta attract growing numbers.

But this surge in outbound travellers is proving too much for China's creaky, but rapidly developing, tourism infrastructure.

About a third of passengers wait for hours for flights at airports strained beyond capacity, according to state media.

These travellers should count themselves lucky they can get on a plane at all, said Zhu Dahong, a 25-year-old Beijing office worker who will spend the new year in Hong Kong.

A native of Weihai, in China's eastern Shandong province, Zhu clearly remembers the sleepless, 17-hour train journeys back home where he was crammed in carriages with hundreds of students and poor migrant workers.

"It's not enjoyable at all. It's very uncomfortable -- and you must keep an eye on your belongings at all times."

The stress of the holiday crush is enough to put many young Chinese off staying home, especially when family gatherings are boring and routine, said Zhao Ran, a 24-year-old auditor.

"I've been doing this for over 20 years," said Zhao, who spent last new year in Thailand with a friend. "I want to escape these stuffy traditions and try different things."

"I think people flying overseas for the holidays is a good thing. It means we are learning to change," he added.

The need for change is a sentiment travel agent Liang hears constantly when arranging beach holidays or shopping tours.

"People often they think that they can be with their families and eat delicious food at any time," Liang said. "But there are not so many chances to travel internationally. People want something new -- not to just sit at home and watch television." ($1=7.749 Yuan)
 

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FEATURE-Adventurous young Chinese hit backpacking trail alone

BEIJING, Nov 19 (Reuters) - Armed with backpacks, sleeping bags, budget travel guides, and hunger for a wider world long beyond their reach, backpackers from China are likely to be heading to a youth hostel near you.

Loosened travel restrictions and a booming economy mean that growing numbers of young Chinese have visas and cash to travel abroad as never before -- and many of them are opting for the free-wheeling coming-of-age journeys of counterparts in the West.

"Travel has changed my attitude toward the world in every aspect of life and work," said Cao Jiyin, 24, a psychology graduate from the eastern city of Hangzhou, who last summer roamed around India.

It's a dramatic change from past decades, when Communist China was isolated from the world and travel abroad was a rare privilege available only to a politically favoured elite.

These days with more open borders and money in their pockets, most Chinese tourists opt for rigid package tours abroad.

But a growing band of young Chinese travel independently all over their own country, and now also backpack across Europe, Africa and other exotic destinations.

"Travel today has become fashionable for the young generation," Cai Jinghui, head of guidebook publisher Lonely Planet's Chinese-language editions, told Reuters.

"For young people, group travel is not real travel. It is a signal that you don't have the ability to explore," added Cai, sitting in a fashionable cafe crowded with Chinese and foreign backpackers.

HIGH DEMAND

Lonely Planet, the producer of hundreds of guides to exotic spots, started publishing Chinese editions only last year. It sold out all 5,000 copies of its initial run of Chinese-language Europe guides within one month.

Its goal now is to recruit young Chinese backpackers to write guide books for Chinese travellers with special attention to their own likes-and-dislikes -- such as finding a Chinese restaurant in Rome.

"We realized that we had underestimated the market for the European guide, we did not expect such high demand," Cai said.

The number of overseas trips from China has soared over the past decade, with some 35 million trips in 2006, compared to just 620,000 trips in 1990, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.

This surge in overseas travel has matched China's rapid economic growth, as an urban middle class enjoys the benefits of double-digit growth.

Domestic tourism is also booming. Around 150 million people took to the road, rail and air during this year's "golden week" Labour Day holiday in May.

Independent travel and backpacking have become so popular that for the past five years Hu Deng, a professor at China's People's University, has taught China's only "Independent Travel" class.

His classes are always full and up to 500 students pack the auditorium, many of them standing, eager to learn how to survive tough-looking visa officers, unfamiliar foods and faces, and jostling for a cheap bed.

"I am just a window, and through me they can find a very different world," explained Hu. "I think independent travel allows us to better respect each other."

One industry that has benefited from this surge in travel is travel outfitting stores. The Wu Dao Kou area in Beijing's university district has seen an explosion in outdoor and travel related stores.

These stores stock everything from North Face backpacks to crampons for mountain climbing -- or at least the cheap copies that China is notorious for. For some image-conscious young Chinese, having the right gear is essential.

"Some may have very advanced equipment to show off how professional they are," said Cai Xiaomei, a backpacker from the eastern coastal city of Xiamen.

But others are looking for the transforming experiences that come with distant places. Chen Xi, 21, from the southwestern city of Chongqing, has backpacked in Turkey, India, Pakistan and South Korea.

"It's important to spend more time in a few places rather than seeing many places in the same amount of time," she said.

"Many of my friends want to hear about my stories, but they don't want to go to these places themselves."

VISA PROBLEMS

But Chinese backpackers run up against bureaucratic obstacles many of their Western counterparts do not.

Few countries give visa-free entry to Chinese citizens. Getting hold of a visa can be hard and sometimes expensive, with painfully long queues and no certainty of approval.

"Visas are the most difficult issue for us," said Chen. "This past summer I was rejected for a Nigerian visa."

When they do make it abroad, China's backpackers can then find themselves treated as awkward ambassadors for their country, peppered with questions about the Olympic Games, human rights and other contentious topics.

Not the cool experience that these young travellers yearn for.

"I am not a good arguer," Cai said of these encounters. "I just told them what my opinions on these issues were, but didn't really talk about them deeply."
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Canada threatens China with WTO action over tourism ban

OTTAWA, Jan 8, 2008 (AFP) - Canada's Trade Minister David Emerson said Tuesday he is ready to go to the World Trade Organization to try to force China to allow its citizens to visit his country, if the issue is not resolved soon.

In a teleconference from Beijing, he accused Chinese officials of unfair discrimination in refusing to designate Canada an approved tourism destination, while granting more than 130 other countries the special status.

After three years of fruitless negotiations, he said, "we really have got to the point where we have to move it along in a meaningful way in a relatively short time frame or we will have no choice but to explore the WTO option."

The status quo "could do economic damage to Canada," he added, explaining that most foreign trips to the United States, which has been christened a favorable vacation spot by Beijing, include a stopover in Canada.

Emerson refused to "speculate" on the reasons behind the stalemate, but observers have suggested Ottawa's fierce human rights criticisms of China may have hit a nerve.

"Sure, we're hearing people express concern that there may be some atmospheric frictions out there that they're a little bit concerned about, but (Chinese officials) are wanting to move on," commented Emerson.

In October, Beijing protested a meeting between Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the Dalai Lama in October, claiming the Nobel laureate is a dangerous figure agitating for Tibetan independence.

The same month, Canada announced it would veto foreign takeovers of Canadian firms over national security concerns, if warranted.

As well, it set out terms and conditions under which foreign state-owned companies -- sometimes guided by political motives -- would be allowed to acquire assets in Canada.

Although most believed the new rules aimed to curb Chinese investment in Canada, particularly by the state-owned China Investment Corporation, Emerson dismissed their suspicions.

"Canada is anxious to have Chinese investments," he insisted.

The buyout guidelines "are designed not to discourage acquisitions by state-owned enterprises, but to ensure that when those companies acquire Canadian companies that they have governance systems and transparency arrangements in place and that they are operating as an economic, commercial corporation not as a political arm," he said.
 

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First individual Chinese tourists visit Japan
8 July 2009
Agence France Presse

Japan on Wednesday welcomed the first Chinese tourists travelling individually rather than on tours, under visa changes that aim to lure more wealthy foreigners amid the recession.

Until now, Chinese tourists had to travel in groups escorted by tour guides from both countries, a rule meant to prevent illegal immigration.

But in response to growing demand, Tokyo started issuing visas to individual Chinese tourists this month.

At Tokyo's Narita Airport, Japan Airlines arranged a warm welcome for the 19 tourists from Beijing and Shanghai. They were greeted by a person dressed as Hello Kitty wearing a traditional Japanese kimono.

Several children arriving from China were given stuffed toys of the cartoon cat, which Japan has chosen as a "friendship ambassador" to promote tourism, especially from the Hong Kong and China markets.

"Welcome to Japan," said Yoshiaki Hompo, head of the Japan Tourism Agency.

"There are no more worries about swine flu. Please enjoy your travels in Japan."

Japan expected 65 individual tourist arrivals from China on Wednesday, flying in on JAL, All Nippon Airways and Air China to several airports throughout the country, the tourist agency said.

"The Chinese market has great potential for tourism, especially for wealthy people to come here and boost consumption," said Hompo.

"Japan and China have had a complex history, but the exchanges of people could enhance mutual understanding," he added. "I want them to enjoy shopping and walking around freely in Japan."

Fan Chengyan, a 51-year-old businesswoman who arrived with her four children, said she would spend five days travelling around Japan.

"If I had time, I would like to see Kyoto, Mount Fuji and many areas of Tokyo. I heard Japan is a very environmentally friendly country. So I want to experience that," she said.

Under the new visa rules for China, applicants for individual tourist visas need "good references in terms of occupation, financial resources and other factors," the government has said.

The annual number of Chinese arrivals in Japan -- including both business visitors and tourists -- reached one million last year and is projected to hit 1.25 million in 2010.
 

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MORE CHINESE PEOPLE PACKING AS TRAVEL BUG BITES

BEIJING, Oct 1 Asia Pulse - The Chinese tourism market was in full stride with the advent of National Day Golden Week as increasing numbers of people are packing for domestic and international trips.

A China Tourism Academy report published earlier this month predicted that the country would receive 210 million travelers during the Golden Week holiday.

Flight tickets to Shanghai were hard to come by due to the popularity of the World Expo, according to a survey by Ctrip.com, a major Chinese online booking website. The survey also found that hotel prices had soared. For example, hotels in Hangzhou, 176 kilometers from Shanghai, surged 10 to 40 per cent since the middle of September. Other tourist cities such as Chengdu, Changsha and Wuhan, also saw an increase in hotel prices.

More than 30,000 Chinese mainland tourists are expected to travel to Taiwan from Sept 29 to Oct 8, more than double last year's figure, according to Taiwan's Travel Agent Association on Thursday.

About 12,000 mainland tourists traveled to Taiwan during the National Day holiday last year, with an estimated spending power of about NT$760 million (US$24.32 million), figures from the local tourism bureau showed.

In July 2008, Taiwan allowed mainland tourists to visit the island on package tours for stays of up to 15 days. A total of 600,000 mainlanders visited Taiwan last year, and this year's figure is expected to hit 1.5 million.

Also, more people are setting their sights on international travel.

According to Wang Yali of the marketing department at China Travel Service (CTS) head office, these packages were in high demand.

"Traveling abroad is so hot this year that even travel agencies had trouble buying tickets from airline companies, especially those popular lines going to Europe, the United States, Africa and Australia," Wang said.

"All the tour packages between September and November had been snapped up by the end of August," she added.

Overseas tours also sold well at China Youth Travel Service (CYTS), another popular travel agency.

According to Song Xiaohong from the marketing department of CYTS, the company's tour group will take some 3,600 tourists outside China between Oct 1 and 7.

"We announced the Golden Week travel lines in late August, and all were sold out in early September," Song said.

The Golden Week, which refers to the holiday periods of the Spring Festival and National Day, is longer than usual this year because it starts only six days after the three-day Mid-Autumn Festival holidays.

"I changed my work shifts and stitched all the holidays together, a total of 10 days. It is a chance to visit places farther away," said Shang Tongtong, a 24 year-old Beijing resident.

The number of people who said they were considering traveling outside China increased 28.93 per cent over the same period in 2009, and the number of tourist routes to Japan, the US and Singapore surged 20 to 30 per cent on a travel website named 51766, according to a report in the Workers' Daily.

"I cannot believe that so many people are going abroad. When I went to the Chongwen exit-entry administration in Beijing in early September, I spent more than three hours waiting in line to get my passport," said Liu Mengmeng, 29, who will travel to the Republic of Korea on Oct 10.

In 2009, China had 42.21 million people traveling abroad. This represented a 5.2 per cent increase from 2008 , according to statistics released by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.
 

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E. China's Fujian sees 18 pct rise in tourism income

BEIJING, Oct. 18 (Xinhua) -- Tourists visiting east China's Fujian Province spent 94.49 billion yuan (about 14.2 billion U.S. dollars) in the first three quarters of the year, up 18 percent from the same period last year, the local tourism bureau said Friday.

Between January and September, Fujian registered 84 million tourist visits, up 16.4 percent year on year. Some 81.77 million were domestic visitors, up 16.5 percent year on year, while 2.24 million of the visitors were from abroad, up 11.5 percent year on year.

Fujian is famous for its scenic spots, including Mount Wuyi, Gulang Island and danxia (red grit stone) landforms, as well as for the Mazu Temple and the folk architecture of Hakka Tulou.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
China to develop Silk Road, Three Gorges for overseas tourists
14:59, October 20, 2010

With the Shanghai World Expo set to close at the end of the month, the Chinese tourism industry is looking to develop something new to attract foreign tourists and right now the two biggest candidates are the Silk Road and the Three Gorges area.

China's National Tourism Administration Delegation to the United States announced that China plans to push the Silk Road and Three Gorges as the "leading actors" for attracting overseas tourists in the future on Oct. 20 in Los Angeles.

The China's National Tourism Administration held a promotion fair about the two scenic spots on Oct. 18, and more than 150 people from all walks of life in L.A. were invited to the fair. Wu Wenxue, the head of China's Delegation, introduced the new outlook on China's tourism development and especially focused on situations of the Silk Road and the Three Gorges.

Currently, the United States has already become one of the largest providers of foreign tourists to China. In the first eight months of this year, there has been a 17 percent year-on-year increase seem among American tourists visiting the Chinese mainland, which has been mostly due to the promotion activities of Shanghai World Expo.

Since the Shanghai World Expo is going to drop its curtain at the end of this month, China is planning to attract more U.S. tourists to visit the country and its rich tourism resources with the Silk Road and the Three Gorges as the main attraction.

In addition, apart from L.A., the China delegation is going to hold more tourism promotion fairs in other U.S. cities, including San Francisco.

By Wang Hanlu, People's Daily Online
 

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Desperate for tourists, Chinese cities fight for claims to fame
13 November 2010
The Washington Post
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/11/12/AR2010111206577.html



For centuries, folks in Jiangyou City had only one claim to fame. They lived in the home town of one of China's most famous poets, an 8th-century genius and drunkard called Li Bai, who is regarded with the same reverence in the East as Shakespeare is in the West.

So the people of Jiangyou were shocked last year when they turned on their televisions to see this cheery promotional ad: "As the home town of Li Bai . . . Anlu City welcomes you."

Jiangyou's leaders were livid. Lawsuits were prepared, cease-and-desist letters sent and ugly threats made.

But a strange thing started to happen. Other towns began getting into similarly vicious fights - and not just over major historical figures like Li Bai, but minor ones and fictional characters, too. Several towns fought to claim an adulterous murderer from a famous romance novel.

It got so bad that China's central government stepped in this summer and ordered a stop to all town-on-town smear campaigns.

The disputes, economists say, grow out of the increasing number of domestic tourists in China and the way the country's booming middle class is reshaping its economy. For decades, China's tourism market was dominated by foreign dollars. But in recent years that has changed, with revenue from local tourism estimated to reach $172 billion this year, compared with $43 billion from foreign tourism. Fueling the boom are new vacation days mandated by Beijing.

As a result, towns are scrambling to give vacationers every possible excuse to visit. And as the recent squabbles show, some are willing to stretch the truth to seal the deal.

Many have cast Anlu as the villain in the fight over poet Li Bai, also known in the West as Li Po. But even the briefest visit to the remote, middling-size city reveals an economic desperation that's almost palpable.

For decades, the main industry in Anlu was agriculture. As that sector declined, city leaders tried state-owned industrial plants in the 1980s and '90s, until those collapsed, as well.

With the economy in free fall, officials scrambled for anything that could provide a jump-start. Then, a few years ago, they recalled that Li Bai had lived in Anlu for about 10 years. They developed a simple strategy: Go big.

Now an entire Li Bai-themed resort is being built in Anlu. During a recent visit, Anlu officials showed off what they claimed will be the tallest statue of Li Bai in the world, a 125-foot-high figure visible from the nearby highway. A Li Bai memorial hall is nearing completion, as are a man-made lake and luxury hotel. There are also plans for a Disney-esque street with vendors in Tang Dynasty garb selling period food and trinkets.

Anlu's leaders, like all local officials in China, are obsessed with increasing GDP - shorthand for a region's economic output. Across the country, small-town leaders who don't know any other words in English invoke those three letters dozens of times a day in conversation. In many cases, GDP is the sole criterion for promotion or dismissal.

At a recent meeting of Anlu leaders, talk focused on GDP rather than Li Bai. And as the officials took turns toasting each other with burning shots of 80-proof rice wine - a Chinese business tradition - the conversation grew darker and darker.

"We used to be one of the top 10 economies in Hubei province," sighed Chen Zuoyi, Anlu's propaganda chief. "Now we've slipped to 36th or 37th place. The pressure is unbearably intense."

The reason so many cities are turning to tourism, Chen explained, is because of the industry's built-in advantages. In a country struggling with pollution, tourism has a relatively low environmental impact. If done right, he said, it can instantly inject thousands of jobs and millions of dollars into a local economy. And unlike the manufacturing industries that collapsed in Anlu in the past, he said bitterly, tourism does not become obsolete with the latest gadget.

So, yes, Chen admitted, GDP was a major reason Anlu bought ads on national TV trumpeting its new claim to be Li Bai's home town. But, he added with conviction, it also just happens to be true.

If Anlu City is the upstart in this fight, Jiangyou City in Sichuan province is the outraged veteran.

Shortly after Anlu's commercial aired, leaders in Jiangyou lawyered up and forced TV stations to stop its broadcast. They also threatened to sue Anlu, arguing that Jiangyou had long ago trademarked its "home town of Li Bai" title. And when China's commerce department ruled against them, Jiangyou's attorneys threatened to sue the Chinese government itself.

"A man cannot have two, three home towns," fumed Guo Xinglong, director of Jiangyou's Li Bai Memorial Hall. "This is where Li Bai grew up, where his inner character was formed. That doesn't change just because another city wishes it to be so."

A chain smoker with a withering gaze, Guo has helped publish a book laying out the city's case.

While Anlu only recently began its Li Bai campaign, Jiangyou has been pushing the renowned "god of poetry" for years. A third of the city's streets are named after him, and several statues dot the cityscape.

In many ways, the rise of Li Bai in Jiangyou has mirrored the emergence of the local tourism industry in China as a whole.

For centuries, historical sites in China were ravaged by wars and political upheaval. Then came the Cultural Revolution of the 1960s, in which relics of the past were publicly discarded in favor of Communist icons. During those years, Li Bai's 1,300-year-old home in Jiangyou was seen as worthless - occupied first by monks and then by elementary school children.

According to experts, what sparked domestic tourism was the 1989 government crackdown in Tiananmen Square, an event that also put a damper on foreign tourism. In the following two decades, local tourism grew exponentially, as Chinese acquired both wealth and an itch to travel. Jiangyou restored Li Bai's home atop its ruined foundations.

As desperate as Anlu is for an economic assist from Li Bai, Jiangyou officials say they need him even more. The Sichuan earthquake of 2008 devastated Jiangyou's economy and destroyed its tourist sites. Since then, the city has poured millions into renovations, including a new Li Bai theme park and renovated memorial hall, due to reopen in time to compete with Anlu's.

"Anlu can promote Li Bai all they want," Guo said. "But with a term like 'home town,' it's a matter of accuracy. And we have so many historical relics to support our claim."

The truth is that both towns represent equally crucial facets of Li Bai's life, scholars say.

Jiangyou was the poet's childhood home, where he first began writing, said Kang Zhen, a Beijing Normal University professor specializing in Tang Dynasty poetry. Anlu, however, was where he married, had children and settled down to produce many of his 1,100 poems.

In fact, Kang points out, it was during his time in Anlu that Li Bai wrote what is widely considered one of the most famous works in Chinese literature.

The poem - four simple lines packed with emotion - has been memorized for centuries by Chinese schoolchildren. It concludes:

I lift my head and gaze at the bright moon.

I drop my head and miss my home.

Reminded of the poem, officials in Jiangyou were quick to pounce on it as proof. "You see! He wrote this while in Anlu. That means he was longing for us, his childhood home," Guo said.

With thousands of jobs on the line, Anlu officials were just as quick to offer their own interpretation. "Everyone knows Li Bai traveled a lot during this time in his life. Obviously, he wrote this poem on the road," Chen said.

In other words, he concluded, Li Bai was longing for Anlu.
 

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Sky's the limit for rich village as it plans heli-sightseeing tours
18 November 2010
South China Morning Post

The village famous for being the richest on the mainland is planning to buy up to 20 aircraft in five years to boost local tourism following the official easing of low-altitude airspace rules for non-military flights.

Huaxi village in Jiangsu will put two helicopters it acquired earlier this year into commercial service in the middle of next month, Zhou Li , the general manager of the Huaxi Village Travel Service, told Xinhua on Tuesday.

Zhou said tourists were charged 20 yuan (HK$23.30) for a tour of the Huaxi Golden Pagoda, a village landmark, but helicopter tours of the village would cost 300 to 500 yuan each and could provide a substantial boost to tourism revenue.

The foray into airborne tourism by Huaxi was made possible when the State Council and the Central Military Commission announced this week that trial programmes to open low-altitude airspace to private flights would begin by the end of the year and would be expanded to the rest of the country by 2015.

Low-altitude flying has been under the strict control of the military, and any application for such flights must go through a complex and time-consuming approval procedure that usually involves several government departments.

The deregulation is expected to boost the country's fledgling private aviation sector. Industry experts estimate it will create a one trillion yuan market with millions of new jobs in aviation manufacturing and services.

Huaxi bought two helicopters - an MD 902 in August and an AS350 B3 from Eurocopter in October - for nearly 90 million yuan.

Zhou said the village had hired foreign pilots, who were conducting test flights in Nantong .

"It's easy to buy a plane, but a pilot is difficult to find," she said, adding that it opened up another potential market in pilot training. She said the village planned to train about 100 pilots to meet the demand.

Huaxi, with a population of 30,000, has carved out a niche in manufacturing and commerce thanks to the country's reforms and opening up in 1979. Businesses in the village, where residents enjoy an upscale lifestyle, report three billion yuan in sales a year. Village officials say they get a million tourists a year.
 

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ANALYSIS-China rides crest of Asian tourism boom

YABULI, China, Dec 20 (Reuters) - Take a fast-emerging middle class with money to spend. Add improving transport links. Mix in with fewer travel curbs and favourable official policies.

The result? A boom in domestic and outbound Chinese tourism seems baked in the cake. The same holds true for Asia as a whole.

"There is huge growth to come," said Nicolas Berbigier, chief executive of Xanadu, a travel agency in Beijing.

"Chinese consumers are finding it a lot more interesting to travel. They're finding it a lot easier. The yuan is expected to rise in value. Visa restrictions are diminishing every day and the government is pretty keen on pushing people to travel, at least domestically," he said.

China's 1.3 billion people each take on average just 1.3 trips a year. By 2015 the figure is projected to rise to 3.3.

The World Travel and Tourism Council expects the sector in China to expand by an inflation-adjusted 9.0 percent a year between 2010 and 2020, the fastest rate in the world.

That explains why Club Mediterranee SA has become the latest leisure group to plant its flag in China.

The French holiday operator has just opened its first resort in Yabuli, the birthplace of Chinese skiing about 180 km from Harbin in northeast China.

Club Med plans to have five locations in China within five years, by which time it will be the firm's second biggest market after France. It reckons 12 million Chinese on paper could be tempted to try its family-orientated resorts.

"Obviously, it's the biggest potential new market we have in the world," said Caroline Puechoultres, Club Med's chief executive for Asia Pacific.

Outside, temperatures of minus 25 degrees Celsius and a bitter wind whipping down from Siberia fail to deter enthusiastic skiers, many from Hong Kong and Singapore, where the resort's launch has been heavily promoted.

ECONOMIC TRANSFORMATION

The economic case for a boom in tourism rests largely on changes in China's labour market. As the supply of new workers tightens, wages will rise and boost consumption. And as people become better off, they will spend relatively more on services and less on food and other daily necessities.

"So the big winners from an era of rapidly rising wages are likely to in the service sector, for example tourism, healthcare and insurance," said Mark Williams with Capital Economics in London.

With China's GDP per head now around $4,000 a year, the conditions are ripe for explosive growth in travel, according to Zhu Shanzhong, vice head of the China National Tourism Administration.

China will implement a "national tourism plan" in the next five years that will mark the start of a "huge acceleration towards becoming a leisure society", Zhu said last week.

A large share of China's tourist spending is already flowing beyond China's borders.

Mainland Chinese made 47 million trips overseas in 2009, a figure that is expected to rise to 54 million this year.

By 2015 the government expects 100 million people to venture abroad, making China the world's biggest outbound tourism market.

HSBC, benchmarking China against the experience of Japan and South Korea, reckons the figure could reach 130 million.

Spending by Chinese overseas travellers would grow from some $43 billion a year to over $110 billion, of which $80 billion-$100 billion will be spent within Asia, the bank said.

Hong Kong is an obvious jumping-off point. The number of visitors to the territory in the first nine months leapt 23.7 percent to 26.2 million, with 63 percent coming from the mainland.

Tourism contributed a whopping 2.6 percentage points to Hong Kong's real GDP growth rate of 6.5 percent in the second quarter, according to economists at Nomura.

"Looking ahead, we expect robust growth in Asia -- and especially in China -- to continue to provide an important support to Hong Kong's economy via tourism, particularly the restaurants and hotels, travel and recreation industries," the bank said in a recent report.

RICH PICKINGS

The flood of Asian tourism, which has already made Chinese the biggest spenders at many European luxury goods retailers, was one reason why Airbus last week raised its forecast for aircraft sales over the next 20 years. [ID:nLDE6BC1R8]

"Demand for travel is doubling every 15 years ... but in places like India and China we expect to double in the next six years," Airbus sales chief John Leahy said.

To tap into the demand in China, Club Med has teamed up with Fosun , China's largest non-state-owned conglomerate.

Fosun has taken an equity stake of nearly 10 percent in Club Med and is helping the French firm with acquiring prime sites, marketing, personnel training and procurement.

Their aim is to burnish Club Med's name in China, get customers hooked and then sell them holidays in the operator's 80 beach and ski resorts worldwide. Chinese travellers already make up half of the guests at Club Med in the Maldives.

"Those who are going to be able today to imprint their brand -- at the very beginning of outbound tourism -- are going to be able to make a killing," said Andre Loesekrug-Pietri, whose investment fund and advisory firm A Capital Asia co-invested in Club Med alongside Fosun.

Berbigier, the Beijing travel agency chief, also sees rich pickings in his sector for foreign firms, which have been allowed since August to apply for licences to organise trips inside China.

Apart from online travel agent Ctrip.com International Ltd , the market has no big player and is highly fragmented, he said.

"Anybody who manages to bring some structure to the market has huge potential," Berbigier said. "I'm flabbergasted how little involvement there is by foreign players."
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
China eyes 15 mln tourists to Tibet by 2015
13 January 2011

BEIJING, Jan 13 (Reuters) - China wants to more than double the number of tourists visiting restive Tibet by 2015, when it hopes the remote region will play host to around 15 million visitors a year, state media said on Thursday.

Ethnic tensions in Tibet have distracted the Chinese government and drawn international concern. Many Tibetans chafe under Chinese rule and believe that a sharp influx of central Chinese investment primarily benefits Han Chinese migrants and state-owned companies, which dominate the economy.

China rejects these charges, saying it is only trying to bring development to a poor and backward region, including new transport links in the form of roads, railways and airports.

"Tibet will focus on building (itself as) an important world tourism destination," the official Xinhua news agency said, citing Tibet's government.

Tibet also hopes to more than double its income from tourism by 2015 to around 16 billion yuan ($2.42 billion) a year, creating more than 300,000 jobs, it added.

Tibet's economy has grown more quickly than the rest of China, sped by the completion of a railway to Lhasa, the regional capital of Tibet, and large mining projects.

But those projects have also brought more Chinese migrants to Tibet, leading to many Tibetans' perceptions that they have been left out of economic growth.

Since bloody demonstrations in 2008, the government has boosted training programmes, subsidies and investment there in an implicit recognition of the economic roots to the unrest.

Xinhua said the government wanted all the people of Tibet to "get rich from tourism", and would also promote tourism in rural areas where most Tibetans live.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
China's travel bug spreads, bodes well for luxury

BEIJING, Feb 2 (Reuters) - China's itch to travel abroad is spreading to second-tier cities, feeding a boom that is benefiting the tourism and retail industries across the globe and putting the country on the cusp of overtaking the United States as the largest outbound tourism market.

The findings of a survey by market research group Nielsen are consistent with evidence of strong growth in sales of autos and consumer goods as incomes rise in second-tier cities away from the prosperous seaboard.

Seven percent of the more than 3,500 respondents to the survey said they had travelled abroad in 2010, up from 5 percent in 2008.

The Nielsen China Outbound Travel Monitor found that 5 percent of those surveyed in second-tier cities in northern and eastern China travelled overseas in 2010, up from just 2 percent and 3 percent respectively in the earlier two years.

Five percent was the rate recorded for Beijing in 2008. By last year, the figure for the capital had risen to 9 percent, trailing fellow Tier 1 city Shanghai's 15 percent and Guangzhou's 20 percent.

Hong Kong and Macau remain by far the most popular destinations.

Well-heeled Chinese in major cities are spreading their wings further afield, according to Umang Pabaru, Nielsen's managing director for consumer research in Greater China.

"It is very apparent that Tier 1 cities are getting more sophisticated, but Tier 2 is catching up quickly as income levels rise," he said.

More and more Chinese were travelling for leisure, rather than to visit relatives, Pabaru said. Medical tourism to Thailand and South Korea was growing fast, while Japan was an increasingly popular destination.

"As they get richer, they are getting more adventurous," he said.

Chinese tourists made 57.4 million outbound trips in 2010, up 20.4 percent on the year, according to government data. In comparison, 61.5 million Americans travelled abroad in 2009, the latest year for which figures are available.

By 2015, the number of outbound Chinese tourists is likely to reach nearly 84 million, state media quoted Shao Qiwei, chairman of China's National Tourism Administration, as saying last month.

HAVE MONEY, WILL TRAVEL

Research by Hong Kong-based brokers CLSA also painted a bullish outlook for tourism as 24 percent of a panel of consumers consulted by the firm plans to take a trip abroad in the next 12 months, up from the 16 percent who travelled in the past year.

Yet Chinese travel is still low compared with its neighbours.

The level of Chinese departures as a percentage of the population is the same as Japan and Taiwan in 1984 and Korea in 1991, according to a report by research analysts Aaron Fischer and Mariana Kou.

With mainland Chinese buying 56 percent of their luxury goods abroad, high-end retailers outside China -- principally Hong Kong -- stand to be big beneficiaries of the unfolding boom in tourism and disposable incomes.

Fischer and Kou estimated that mainland Chinese demand for luxury goods would soar to 42 percent of the global total by 2020 from just 13 percent in 2010.

Along the way, the domestic Chinese market for luxury goods is on course to overtake Japan's by 2014, CLSA projects.

Some 65 percent of the customers it surveyed bought luxury goods during their last trips abroad, partly due to the Chinese custom of gift-giving and partly because taxes and import duties make the goods in China more expensive.

CLSA said according to LVMH , the luxury retailer's prices in Shanghai are 35 percent higher than in Paris.

"Luxury goods feature high on the shopping list for Chinese travellers. And total demand is highly geared to tourism," Fischer and Kou wrote.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
More fly at the chance to take foreign vacations during Chinese New Year
10 February 2011
China Daily - Hong Kong Edition

BEIJING - More Chinese tourists decided to spend their Spring Festival holidays overseas this year, despite a sharp rise in the cost of such foreign vacations.

Data released by the National Holiday Tourism Office on Wednesday showed that 67,500 people left Beijing for overseas trips during the holidays, a 60 percent rise year-on-year.

The spike came in spite of such trips costing more. Prices of vacations to Hong Kong, Europe and the Middle East rose by 15 percent on average, and excursions to Thailand's Phuket Island and Saipan Island in the western Pacific rose by 30 percent.

From Jan 28 to Tuesday, 40,243 people from the mainland traveled to Taiwan. The peak day was Feb 4 when 7,466 mainland travelers made the trip.

Hong Kong continues to be the most popular destination for outbound tourists, followed by Phuket, Singapore, Bangkok and Bali, according to the latest top 10 list jointly announced by the China Tourism Academy and Beijing Ctrip International Travel Service.

"For Hong Kong and Taiwan tours during the holiday, although we raised the rates by 50 percent on average, they were booked up long before Spring Festival," said He Jing, Ctrip's communications manager.

Yao Yao, marketing manager with Beijing-based China Comfort Travel, said many popular outbound tours to Australia, Hong Kong and America were sold out before the holiday.

This year, the company arranged a charter flight to Guam for the first time. A total of 150 Chinese tourists paid 9,888 yuan ($1,500) each for the five-day trip that started on Feb 5.

"Guam is not as well-known a destination as the Maldives but we believe it has great potential to attract more consumers," Yao said.

"Chinese tourists are looking for more quality and flexibility when making such overseas trips," he said. They are increasingly unsatisfied with pre-arranged travel plans and want their personal interests and preferences to be included, he added.

"We will follow the market trends and offer more customized travel to Chinese tourists in the future," Yao said.

China's tourism sector grew quickly during the past five years, with revenue increasing by 15 percent each year on average, said Shao Qiwei, director of the National Tourism Administration.

By 2015, the number of Chinese tourists traveling abroad for their holidays is expected to top 83.8 million and total revenue generated from the sector is estimated to be 2.3 trillion yuan, according to Shao.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Tourists to hit record high during Spring Festival holiday

BEIJING, Jan. 24 (Xinhua) -- The number of tourists traveling during the upcoming Spring Festival holiday is expected to hit a record high of 211 million, tourism authorities said on Thursday.

The number of holiday tourists is expected to rise by 20 percent compared with the previous year, surpassing 200 million for the first time, the China National Tourism Administration (CNTA) said.

Increased consumer confidence, the removal of tolls on some highways and lower ticket prices have made more people willing to travel this year, the CNTA said.

Tourism revenues are expected to reach 126.7 billion yuan (20.2 billion U.S. dollars) during the holiday, up 25 percent year on year, according to figures released by the CNTA.

However, senior CNTA official Wu Wenxue said problems like traffic jams and a general decline in service quality are likely to occur during the weeklong holiday.

The CNTA has urged local tourism authorities to make preparations for greater numbers of visitors, Wu said.
 

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China is the second worldwide

but Chinese tourists are counted?

U.S. has great tourist potential, I do not think it ever exceed China

nice day
 

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1 France Europe 79.5 million 77.1 million +3.0%
2 United States North America 62.3 million 59.8 million +4.2%
3 China Asia 57.6 million 55.7 million +3.4%
4 Spain Europe 56.7 million 52.7 million +7.6%
5 Italy Europe 46.1 million 43.6 million +5.8%
6 Turkey Europe 29.3 million 27.0 million +8.7%
7 United Kingdom Europe 29.2 million 28.3 million +3.2%
8 Germany Europe 28.4 million 26.9 million +5.5%
9 Malaysia Asia 24.7 million 24.6 million +0.6%
10 Thailand Asia 24.4 million 23.3 million +0.5
 

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China's projected bookings to the United States

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

CHINA Travel Trade Barometer: Bookings Projected to Remain Strong through the First Half of 2013

First Quarter 2013

According to the U.S. Department of Commerce sponsored China Travel Trade Barometer, a majority of the tour operators surveyed (77 percent) projected an increase in bookings from China to the United States (including Hawaii and Guam) in the first quarter of 2013 compared to the first quarter of 2012.
Just under one fifth (18 percent) of the trade projected bookings to be about the same and only five percent projected a decrease in bookings compared to the first quarter of 2012. This survey was conducted from December 10, 2012 through January 10, 2013.

Second Quarter 2013

Second quarter 2013 bookings from China to the United States (including Hawaii and Guam) were projected to be higher, on average, compared to the same period of 2012. Just over seven out of ten (73 percent) of the respondents projected higher bookings and approximately one fifth (18 percent) projected much higher bookings for second quarter 2013.
Only nine percent of the respondents projected bookings to be about the same for the second quarter of 2013, compared to the second quarter of 2012. None projected a decrease in bookings. Europe (including Russia) was listed as the top competitive destination for second quarter 2013.

Travel Motivators and Deterrents

Over the next six months, the top motivators for travel to the United States were reported to be visa processing time, level of promotion by U.S. destinations and businesses and direct air service to desired destinations.
Natural disasters in the United States were rated to be the top deterrent, on average, for travel to the United States over the next six months.

BACKGROUND AND SOURCE:
Travel Market Insights conducts the Canada, Mexico, United Kingdom, Japan, Germany and People's Republic of China Travel Trade Barometer programs. The U.S. Department of Commerce, Office of Travel and Tourism Industries, is a sponsor and was the initial developer of the barometer program. The Barometer program is conducted with support from the U.S. Commercial Service and various Visit USA Committees and additional sponsors.

The National Tour Association (NTA) in partnership with Travel Market Insights (TMI) and Ivy Alliance (IVY) conducts the China Travel Trade Barometer in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Commerce, Office of Travel and Tourism Industries.

The Travel Trade Barometer survey is conducted on a quarterly basis in Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, Japan, Germany and the People's Republic of China and is available through subscription. Discussions with industry partners to add Brazil, Australia, South Korea and India are in progress. For more information, please contact Scott C. Johnson at Travel Market Insights on 518-668-2559.

Reports sent to subscribers include additional information, such as:

Bookings - looking at the past quarter and the next two quarters for U.S. and competitive regional destinations;
Short term bookings for more than five specific travel segments; and
Over 15 motivators or deterrents for travel to the United States.
 
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