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Pictured here is an aerial night view of Chengdu, a modern city rich in tourism resources. Photos provided to China Daily
Visitors report high satisfaction as city improves services in this key industry
For the third consecutive year, Chengdu was among the top five in a national ranking of cities based on tourist satisfaction, according to an annual survey by the China Tourism Academy.
The 2012 rankings, which were unveiled earlier this month, surveyed 60 domestic cities, and Chengdu ranked fifth after Suzhou, Shanghai, Huangshan and Nanjing. The city took fifth for the first time in 2010 and fourth in 2011.
The survey also rated Chengdu the highest among cities in the central and western region.
The local tourism authority estimated that the city received 122 million tourists over the last year, increasing 26.1 percent compared with 2011. More than 1.5 million of them were from overseas, up 27.7 percent year-on-year.
Last year, the tourism industry grew by 30 percent and generated 105 billion yuan ($17 billion).
The government of Chengdu is working to improve tourism management, policies and services to make the city into a world-renowned sightseeing destination.
Tourism strategies have been a focal point of the city's overall development plan since 2010, when it was named as one of the nation's first pilot cities for comprehensive tourism reforms.
The tourism authority has customized policies for each tourism site in the city in addition to establishing a promotional organization and a database of major projects.
The city government also has optimized land management policies related to tourism. In 2011, it unveiled new subsidies to major tourism projects and service infrastructure.
Tourism administrations have been established in 11 counties. Top city officials and county governments are involved in the management, including resources deployment, attracting investment and marketing strategies.
Longmen Mountain and Longquan Mountain have been designated as two pilot zones for ecological tourism-based industries.
With registered capital totaling 220 million yuan and a 5-billion-yuan loan from Bank of China, the governments of six counties bordering the Longmen Mountain, together with Chengdu Culture and Tourism Group, have founded a company to develop and manage the tourism site.
The company has invested 123 million yuan in the ancient township of Pingle, a tourism attraction some 90 kilometers southwest of Chengdu. It also plans to launch another project in Jiezi town, which is estimated to be worth 1 billion yuan.
Similar companies have been founded in a number of counties and districts.
The city established information centers in South Korea, Taiwan and Hong Kong. It does promotion and marketing in seven major overseas tourist sources, including Japan and Singapore.
High-tech approaches are also employed to enhance tourists' experience.
Thanks to cooperation between local tourism authorities and the three major Chinese telecommunication operators, tourists from outside Chengdu receive a welcome message upon arrival in the city.
Smart tourism information retrieval systems are installed in any hotel with a three-star ranking or higher. The system is supported by a database of around 400,000 entries about the city's tourism sites and related services.
In the near future, the government will focus on developing a number of competitive products for tourists, and will strive to make its tourism marketing more customer oriented.
In addition, the city plans to build a tourism call center to deal with inquiries, complaints and emergency response.
However, Chengdu is not only a city of tourism but also a burgeoning economy.
It is expected to become one of the country's economic powerhouses over the next decade, local officials say.
Considerable investment has already been drawn to the city, which now hosts more than 200 Fortune 500 companies, including IBM, Dell and Intel.
It also ranks first in the southwestern region in terms of the number of foreign banks and consulates .
Chengdu will host this year's Fortune Global Forum, making it the first southwestern venue to hold the grand event, which was previously hosted by Shanghai and Hong Kong.
Old-style homes line a quiet stream in a classic example of Chengdu's idyllic rural lifestyle.
Qingcheng Mountains, birthplace of Taoism.
Renowned Sichuan hotpot is widely available in Chengdu, the provincial capital.
(China Daily 01/30/2013 page24)