A high ranking official with the State Administration of Tourism Monday in Shanghai predicted that China's SARS-affected tourism industry will fully recover next year.
The expected "blowout" of tourism enthusiasm in this year's seven-day National Day holidays will not occur, said Wei Xiao'an, director in charge of planning and development of the administration, at an on-going forum held in east China's Shanghai city.
"It's not a 'golden week' that will rejuvenate China's tourism," said Wei, "it will need a much longer and harder process to recover completely".
The recovery will include the number of tourists as well as the spending on tourism and the profit of tourism companies, said Wei.
He noted that after the SARS outbreak, some potential tourists are willing to choose the off-season tourism to avoid the busy peak.
"Many bring forward or delay their schedule for tourism," said Wei.
"Maybe it will be more suitable if we call it 'golden month'"
In the past two months, many tourism agents adopted low-price promotion policies to stimulate the tourism market after the control of severe acute respiratory syndrome, which lowered many people's enthusiasm for tourism.
During the coming "golden week" from October 1-7, many agents, to make up their losses, increased prices of overall tourism packages by 15 percent. For some packages, the prices increased by30 percent.
Wei is optimistic about next year's tourism market, saying thatthere is great potential for rural tourism.
"In the future, 60 percent of the tourism market will come from rural areas."
He also predicted that overseas capital and individual capital are contributing more money to the sector. Total investment in thesector will reach 100 billion yuan in 2004, predicted Wei.
Regional economic cooperation, such as in the Yangtze River Delta and Zhujiang River Delta, will also help promote the development of tourism, said Wei.