Sichuan province in southwest China plans to invest 13.9 billion yuan (1.7 billion US dollars) to make its major tourist destinations more accessible and attractive.
Wang Huicheng, vice-governor of the province, said the investment involved about 140 basic projects to build, upgrade infrastructure, and improve ecological environment for five majortourist destinations.
The destinations included Great Jiuzhaigou (Jiuzhai and Huanglong), a unique picturesque landscape, Mount Leshan-Mount Emei, the Sanxingdui relics, the Wolong Giant Panda habitat, and Dujiangyan-Mount Qingcheng.
All except the world-famous giant panda habit and Sanxingdui relics, were on the United Nations' heritage list.
The vice-governor said the province, which is renowned as a "scenic" province, planned to start construction of 106 projects this year, and a combined investment of 2.8 billion yuan (341 million US dollars) has been earmarked for 2003.
"We expect revenues from the tourism sector will grow by 20 percent on average annually before 2010, and the sector will account for over 15 percent of Sichuan's gross domestic product bythen."
The province reported 73 million tourist arrivals in 2002, including approximately 670,000 from overseas with revenue from the tourism sector totaling 38 billion yuan (4.6 billion US dollars).