China's holiday tourism revenue soars

08:56, February 21, 2010      

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The nation bagged 64.62 billion yuan ($9.46 billion) in tourism revenue during the Spring Festival Holiday, attracting 125 million visitors, said the National Tourism Administration in an announcement on its website Saturday.

The NTA said the total revenue and visitors increased 26.9 percent and 14.8 percent respectively over the same period last year.

Among the 125 million tourists, nearly 20 million were overnight visitors. A total of 4.6 billion yuan ($473.60 million) was generated through civil aviation transportation and 2.83 billion yuan ($414.41 million) from railway transportation.

Over 175 commercial enterprises in 39 major tourism cities monitored by the NTA realized 7.31 billion yuan ($1.07 billion) in sales revenue, up 21.8 percent year-on-year.

The NTA also monitored 173 catering enterprises, whose sales revenue reached 390 million yuan ($57.11 million), up 12.7 percent over the same period last year.

Famous scenic spots, especially those with rich folklore, were hit destinations.

During the seven-day holiday from February 13-19, Beijing received 7.65 million visitors, up 5.1 percent year-on-year, reaping a total revenue of 2.92 billion yuan ($427.59 million).

The Temple of Earth opened streets where Spring Festival goods and local snacks were sold, and held nearly 120 folklore performances including lion dances and drumming.

Zhang Jinsong, a spokesman with the Temple of Earth, told the Global Times that he was expecting 1.2 million visitors, with nearly 20,000 foreigners, as of Saturday.

Despite the heavy snow, the Fuzi (Confucius) Temple along the Qinhuai River of Nanjing attracted 1.16 million visitors to enjoy lantern displays.

Northeastern Heilongjiang and Jilin provinces attracted 15 percent more visitors over the same period last year with their well-known ice sculptures and skiing parks. Tropical island Hainan Province was another top tourist attraction.

Hunan Province's Zhangjiajie became even more popular after local officials changed the name of the craggy South Sky Pillar (Nantianyizhu) to Avatar Hallelujah Mountain, claiming that Zhangjiajie's scenery was the prototype for the movie's distinctive floating mountains.

The south-central province attracted 4.54 million visitors, an increase of 34.1 percent year-on-year, realizing revenue of 2.22 billion yuan ($325.08 million).

Dai Bin, deputy director with the China Tourism Academy, attributed the boom to strong tourism consumption consciousness, favorable policies including the central government's plan to build Hainan into a top international tourist destination by 2020, and convenient transportation.

After eating a traditional family dinner at home on New Year's Eve, more and more families chose to spend the rest of the holiday in other cities they don't visit while working, Dai told the Global Times.

In December, the State Council issued opinions on speeding up the development of domestic tourism, vowing to lift the ratio between tourism spending and domestic household consumption expenditures to 10 percent by 2015, through means such as widening market entry-level thresholds, and facilitating infrastructure construction connecting major scenic spots.

A high-speed railway connecting Zhengzhou and Xi'an opened in early February.

The 505-kilometer-long railway, the first of its kind in central and western China, cut the travel time between the two cities from more than six hours to less than two hours.

The 1,000-kilometer-long Wuhan-Guangzhou high-speed rail line cuts the journey from Central China to South China to less than three hours.

By Chen Xiaomin

Source: Global Times
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