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Beijing drops as tourist destination

[ 2009-04-10 13:37]     字号 [] [] []  
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A combination of factors, apart from the financial crisis, have resulted in less overseas tourists visiting Beijing.

The number of holidaymakers visiting the capital fell by 11 percent to 436,491 in January and February this year, Gu Xiaoyuan, deputy chief of Beijing tourism administration, said yesterday.

The amount of tourists from Japan and South Korea - which represented 40 percent of the inbound market in recent years - decreased by 16 percent on the same period last year.

Gu said some Japanese travelers did not travel to China because they were concerned by the food safety in China.

"If the negative image caused by food safety issues cannot be corrected, its impact on the inbound market will linger," she said.

In South Korea, the fast depreciation of its currency against the yuan has increased the price of tour packages to China, she said.

More importantly, its government has stopped all overseas student tours this year, and asked citizens to reduce overseas travel to help combat the recession.

However, the number of tourists from Hong Kong increased by 15 percent and there were 25 percent more visitors from Taiwan, the figures show.

The small administrative region of Macao posted a 106 percent rise.

In addition, the number of North American tourists increased by 6.6 percent which was "unexpected", Gu said.

Liu Ping, manager of an inbound Beijing tour agency, said her business had experienced a decrease in overseas customers.

The administration has said it was aiming for a 5 percent growth on major indexes, including tourism revenue, year on year.

To achieve the goal, Gu said, the city will try to promote it as a popular destination for business tourism, which brings in high-end tourists with lots of money.

There are also plans for Beijing to sponsor influential sports events, including NBA games in the United States, and the Chinese F1 Grand Prix in Shanghai, to promote the city as a tourism destination.

(英语点津 Helen 编辑)

Beijing drops as tourist destination

About the broadcaster:

Beijing drops as tourist destination

Nancy Matos is a foreign expert at China Daily Website. Born and raised in Vancouver, Canada, Nancy is a graduate of the Broadcast Journalism and Media program at the British Columbia Institute of Technology. Her journalism career in broadcast and print has taken her around the world from New York to Portugal and now Beijing. Nancy is happy to make the move to China and join the China Daily team.