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Beijing also tourism capital

By Wang Sujuan  (China Daily)

10:11, June 05, 2012

The 600-year-old Forbidden City is among the top tourist destinations in Beijing and the nation.(Jing Wei / for China Daily)

Contributing nearly 10 percent of the nation's total inbound and outbound tourism revenues, Beijing is no doubt the leader of China's tourism industry.

Statistics from the Beijing tourism administration showed that the capital's tourism service trade volume - measured by the revenue generated from both inbound and outbound tourists - reached $13.61 billion last year, increasing 25.2 percent from the previous year.

The growth was achieved despite a downturn in worldwide tourism resulting from the global financial crisis that started in 2008.

More impressively, the city's lead in the industry was further consolidated in 2011.

Home to the nation's capital for more than 600 years, Beijing is usually the first stop for foreign tourists planning a China trip.

The Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square, housed in the city center, and the Great Wall in its northern suburbs should be household names for foreigners with even a passing knowledge of China.

And tourists will be further fascinated by such places as the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) tombs, the Summer Palace, the Temple of Heaven and the city's many ancient hutongs, or alleyways

And as one of the financial, high-tech and transportation hubs in China, the city also receives a great number of business travelers.

So it should come as no surprise why Beijing made up about 8.1 percent of China's inbound tourism revenue of $66.88 billion last year.

But growing even faster is Beijing's outbound tourism.

Statistics show that the city's outbound tourists generated a total revenue of $8.19 billion, growing 27.6 percent from the previous year and up 590 percent from $1.19 billion in 2003.

With a higher per capita income than most of the regions of China and easier access to visa application procedures in the city's many foreign embassies, Beijing's residents seem more willing and able to visit foreign countries than people in the rest of the country.

Due to their tendency to spend large amounts of money in the overseas destinations, tourists from Beijing are especially welcome by foreign tourism companies and authorities.

For example, the Canadian Tourism Commission recently cooperated with the Beijing-based China Youth Service (CYTS) to open an "Experiencing Canada" showroom in the travel agency's headquarters.

The showroom displays Canada's landmark sightseeing sites, cultures, people and life in an exhibition area of 200 square meters with photos and stories.

"This year, the focus of our cooperation is to promote the century-old Calgary Stampede festival in Canada," said Zhang Lijun, president of CYTS.

CYTS is among the leading local travel agencies to greatly benefit from outbound tourism.

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