Smog clouds tourists’ ap­pre­ci­a­tion of big cities

China Daily (Canada) - - CHINA - By JIN HAIX­ING jin­haix­ing@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Smog is be­ing blamed for a drop in the Chi­nese do­mes­tic tourism sat­is­fac­tion in­dex.

The tourist sat­is­fac­tion in­dex for do­mes­tic des­ti­na­tions stood at 72.6 in the first quar­ter, down five points from the same pe­riod last year, ac­cord­ing to a re­port re­leased by the China Tourism Academy, af­fil­i­ated with the China Na­tional Tourism Ad­min­is­tra­tion, on Thurs­day.

The score is the low­est since the academy started the quar­terly tourist sat­is­fac­tion sur­vey dur­ing the sec­ond quar­ter of 2009.

The sur­vey is based on a ques­tion­naire, on­line com­ments from tourists and com­plaints in 60 Chi­nese cities, with a score above 75 mean­ing “ba­si­cally sat­is­fac­tory”.

In the first quar­ter of this year, the smog in many re­gions af­fected tourists’ de­ci­sions and ex­pe­ri­ences, the re­port said.

For ex­am­ple, Wik­itravel, a free travel guide web­site, listed Bei­jing in a watch list on Feb 25, warn­ing tourists not to visit the city. It said Bei­jing re­mained cloaked in haz­ardous white pol­lu­tion, hid­ing much of the sky­line that day.

Travel agencies also re­ceived a score be­low 70, ac­cord­ing to the re­port. Agencies for hot des­ti­na­tions such as Harbin, Kun­ming and Sanya re­ceived neg­a­tive com­ments about high prices, travel sched­ules and shop­ping spots.

The tourist sat­is­fac­tion in­dex for out­bound des­ti­na­tions re­ceived higher scores. Ac­cord­ing to the re­port, the Chi­nese out­bound tourism sat­is­fac­tion in­dex in the first quar­ter was 78.9, or “ba­si­cally sat­is­fac­tory”, and 21 out of 22 sam­ple coun­tries re­ceived scores above 75.

Among them, New Zealand re­ceived the high­est score of 83.4, the re­port said.

“From the dif­fer­ence of the two scores, we can see that China still needs to pro­mote the coun­try as an in­ter­na­tional tourism des­ti­na­tion,” said Li Zhong­guang, di­rec­tor of the In­sti­tute of Tourism In­dus­try.

Li said a more com­pre­hen­sive pol­icy from the cen­tral govern­ment is needed to de­velop China’s tourism in­dus­try, and pub­lic opin­ion to­ward the sec­tor should be mon­i­tored.

The academy es­ti­mated that in the first quar­ter, the num­ber of out­bound tourists was 26.4 mil­lion, an in­crease of 17 per­cent from the same pe­riod last year. The to­tal spend­ing of those out­bound tourists was $34 bil­lion, a rise of 16 per­cent com­pared to the same pe­riod last year.

How­ever, the num­ber of in­bound tourists continues to drop. In the first quar­ter, the num­ber was es­ti­mated at 31 mil­lion, a drop of 3 per­cent from last year.

The re­port said that rev­enue from in­bound tourism in the quar­ter was es­ti­mated at $11 bil­lion, a drop of 3 per­cent from the same pe­riod in 2013.

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