Cities team up to spur in­bound tourism

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - NATION - By ZHENG XIN zhengxin@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Sev­eral cities in China formed an al­liance on Tues­day to cope with de­clin­ing in­bound tourism across the coun­try.

The al­liance, com­pris­ing ma­jor travel agen­cies and 19 pop­u­lar tourism des­ti­na­tions — in­clud­ing Bei­jing, Shang­hai, Hangzhou and Kun­ming — will work to­gether to an­a­lyze trends in in­bound tourism to com­bat the re­cent de­cline.

The group is also aim­ing to cre­ate more in­no­va­tive tour pack­ages for for­eign tourists, ac­cord­ing to the Bei­jing Tourism De­vel­op­ment Com­mit­tee.

The Na­tional Tourism Ad­min­is­tra­tion said in a re­cent re­port that vis­its to China by over­seas tourists de­clined dur­ing the third quar­ter. In con­trast, the num­ber of Chi­nese tourists on out­bound over­seas trips has grown.

Travel agen­cies across the na­tion re­ceived more than 6.2 mil­lion over­seas visi­tors dur­ing the third quar­ter, a yearon-year de­crease of nearly 9 per­cent.

Ac­cord­ing to fig­ures from the Bei­jing Mu­nic­i­pal Bureau of Sta­tis­tics, the cap­i­tal at­tracted 2.14 mil­lion over­seas tourists dur­ing the first half of the year, a 14.3 per­cent drop from the same pe­riod last year.

Dai Bin, pres­i­dent of the China Tourism Academy, said in­bound tourism has been de­clin­ing over the past few years across the na­tion be­cause of the ap­pre­ci­a­tion in the Chi­nese cur­rency, a weak­ened global econ­omy and visa in­con­ve­niences for for­eign­ers.

“No one wants to spend a va­ca­tion in a stan­dard room in Sanya when they can af­ford a room with a view of the ocean in Langkawi,” he said.

The smog in China has also held back po­ten­tial visi­tors, he said.

“Nowa­days more tourists pre­fer a re­laxed hol­i­day, rather than an ex­plo­ration, and the beaches and sun­shine of­fered by the is­land coun­tries in South­east Asia are prov­ing more com­pet­i­tive,” he added.

Han Yufeng, an of­fi­cial with the China In­ter­na­tional Travel Ser­vice Co, said travel agen­cies should come up with uni­fied stan­dards of ser­vice.

“Some agen­cies with poor cus­tomer ser­vice have given visi­tors a poor im­pres­sion,” he said.

Han also said the gov­ern­ment should fur­ther in­vest in the pro­mo­tion of the coun­try to at­tract more visi­tors.

Bei­jing Tourism De­vel­op­ment Com­mit­tee said it will ex­pand in­vest­ment in the pro­mo­tion and study of in­bound tourism. Yu Debin, deputy di­rec­tor of the com­mit­tee, said the gov­ern­ment is con­sid­er­ing pro­vid­ing fi­nan­cial in­cen­tives to lo­cal tourism agen­cies.

WEN BAO / FOR CHINA DAILY

Tian’an­men Square is a must-see for ev­ery vis­i­tor to Bei­jing, but the num­ber of over­seas tourists to the cap­i­tal de­clined this year, the city’s tourism au­thor­ity says.

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