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China now third most toured nation, poll finds

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
December 30th, 2011
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Mainland China was an impenetrable nation for many years during the Cold War. China has since relaxed guidelines for international visitors, and it has definitely been to the nation's benefit. According to a report issued by the National Tourist Administration, China has become the third-largest tourism market in the world.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Total income from inbound and outbound tourism for the five years leading up to 2010, totals six trillion yuan. The tourism industry has become a cash cow for China. In the 16 years from 1994 to 2010, the country's total tourism income has increased 11-fold.

In the five short years to 2010, China has received 9.3 billion people from at home and abroad, a substantial six trillion yuan in tourism dollars. China has not only become the biggest destination for tourists in Asian countries, according to the China National Tourist Administration, the country also ranks in the top three global destinations for travelers.

"These figures mean we have formed the biggest domestic tourism market, we are the third-largest tourism destination in the world, at the same time, we've become the biggest Asian country for people travelling to overseas countries, Shao Qiwei, director of National Tourism Administration says.

During the 11th Five Year Plan, the tourism industry has largely supported economic growth in China, contributing over 90 percent to the hotel business, and over 80 percent to the aviation and railway industries. Tourism has also created over nearly 14 million jobs in tourism industry, and 60 million jobs in other areas.

"Tourism has progressed economic development in rural areas, last year over 400 million people visited the Chinese countryside. Rural tourism has benefited about 20 million farmers," Shao says.

According to the Web site China Tourist Maps, the Top Five most visited places in mainland China by tourists include the Lijiang Ancient City in southwest Yunnan Province, Sanya on the southernmost point of Hainan Island, Huangshan or the Yellow Mountain in east China's Anhui Province, Jiuzhaigou Valley in Sichuan Basin, southwest China and the karsts and waters of Guilin in the south of China. Surprisingly, the Great Wall of China in Beijing ranks as number seven.

During the past five years, China has signed cooperation plans with the U.S., Russia, Australia, Japan, and South Korea. The country is expected to generate 100 million new outbound departures each year from now to 2015.

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