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Sunnylands summit fuels tourism interest

By CAO YIN (China Daily)

09:23, June 13, 2013

The Annenberg Retreat on the Sunnylands estate in California. The summit between President Xi Jinping and his US counterpart Barack Obama brought the venue into the spotlight last week. (Xinhua / Yang Lei)

Travel agencies in negotiations with retreat in bid to develop projects

The Annenberg Retreat on the Sunnylands estate, the venue for last week's summit in the United States between President Xi Jinping and his US counterpart Barack Obama, could soon see more Chinese visitors.

Beijing student Ji Peiwen, for one, is planning to visit the residence in Rancho Mirage, southern California, after watching the two-day summit.

The 24-year-old's dream may come true, because some Chinese travel agencies are negotiating with the retreat, in an attempt to develop tour projects.

To visit Sunnylands, which was built in the mid-1960s and has been open to the public since March last year, an online appointment is required for a 90-minute tour, which costs $35, according to the retreat's website.

Facilities at Sunnylands include meeting rooms, guest suites, a golf course, lakes and walking trails.

Gao Zhiquan, vice-president of China Youth Travel Service, said on Wednesday that since the summit some Chinese customers have consulted the company about visiting the retreat.

"We're doing research and are in discussion with the retreat's officers, hoping to design some interesting and meaningful travel projects," Gao said, adding that the company hopes to build long-term cooperation with the retreat on travel development.

The agency said visits to the retreat, if realized, will not be too superficial or developed in a popular way, as large crowds would ruin the venue's environment and its international image.

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