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Monday, May 28, 2001, updated at 08:24(GMT+8)

Foreign Tourist Sectors to Attract More Chinese Tourists

"Switzerland with heavenly views, is not far from you." A vivid description is seen on a big poster next to the third ring road in Beijing. The picture features Mountains and skiers.

How far is Switzerland away from ordinary Chinese people? "As China develops its economy and strengthens cooperation with Europe, we believe Switzerland will become a favorite tourist destination of Chinese people," said Zhang wenjia, chief representative in China for Switzerland Tourism.

Having great interest in the populous and rapidly developing nation, the world's tourism magnates have come to China one after the other to do promotions here. Switzerland is just one of the promoters.

"The battle has already begun for the world to attract Chinese tourists," Francesco Frangialli, the secretary-general of the World Tourism Organization said when he visited China in March.

In 2000, the Gross National Product surpassed 1,000 billion U.S. dollars for the first time, with people's bank deposit savings equaling 846 billion U.S. dollars.

Experts pointed out that the soaring economy contributed to China's progress into a world leading tourism destination.

Meanwhile, the Chinese government has adopted a more active attitude to encourage Chinese citizens to travel abroad.

Up to now, the China National Tourism Administration (CNTA) has signed agreements with 15 countries and regions, allowing Chinese people to travel there.

Included in the fifteen destinations are Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand.

Discussions with European and American countries are still in the pipeline.

Jorg Wuttke, chairman of German Chamber of Commerce, has devoted himself to Sino-German economic cooperation. He said that it is a long-term strategy for all countries to strive to attract the numerous Chinese people.

"We are working all out for a tourism agreement as soon as possible in order to ensure the legal rights of tourists and to seek cooperation between tourist agencies after China's entry into the WTO," said Xu Shengli, a representative in China for the German National Tourism Office.

The Canadian Tourism Commission has set up an office in Beijing in early April. Richard Liu, the director of the commission said that the friendship between the two countries has witnessed a long period with a representative being Dr. Norman Bethune.

Last year, over 70,000 Chinese people visited Canada for various businesses while 23,000 Canadians traveled to China.

Compared with countries struggling for official approval to be Chinese tourist destinations, Australia and New Zealand are luckier. "Australia has become a popular destination for Chinese holiday-makers since 1999," said Dengli Baoyin, chief representative of the Australian Tourist Commission.

France, Austria, and the State of Hawaii in the United States, have appointed people to be in charge of tourism cooperation. The number of countries like these is on the rise.

Over 10 million Chinese tourists went abroad last year, spending a total of 100.6 billion U.S. dollars. The great potential of the Chinese market has caught the attention of foreign countries.

The world tourism organization forecasts indicate that by 2020, China will be the country with the largest number of tourists to go abroad. The world tourism industry will thus meet with a new wave.

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"Switzerland with heavenly views, is not far from you." A vivid description is seen on a big poster next to the third ring road in Beijing. The picture features Mountains and skiers.

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