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China's tourism industry urged to improve services
( 2003-10-08 14:00) (Xinhua)

China's tourism industry is being urged to further improve its services to holidaymakers as travelers during the National Day holiday complain of crowds, traffic jams and inadequate restaurant and hotel facilities.

Millions of people travel across the country and flock to popular attractions on the nation's two week-long holidays, which fall on May 1-7 and October 1-7 respectively, causing frustrating bottlenecks in major service sectors.

The National Tourism Administration estimated the number of people traveling by train, bus or boat in the past week exceeded 60 million, a record figure compared with previous National Day holidays.

The huge migration of tourists has seen almost every major scenic spot across the country hosting thronging crowds.

"All the places we went were crowded," complained a Beijing tourist who had just returned. "Whenever we took pictures, we couldn't avoid having strangers' heads in the frame."

Heavy traffic jams and inevitable accidents also dampened the holiday mood, police said.

Already tired of routes provided by travel agencies, many people preferred to stay home.

"Compared with the situation in developed countries like the United States and France, tourism contributes a small proportion of China's gross domestic product, which means huge potential remains to be tapped before tourism becomes a pillar industry," Liu Fangyu, a professor with the Beijing University said.

While the tourism market is set to keep growing, providers of tourist services and products should do more in improving their management performance and developing new products catering to travelers' needs, Chen Dongqi, a senior researcher with the State Development and Reform Commission, said.

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