China to top charts as global tour mecca
( 2003-10-20 08:44) (China Daily)
China will surpass France to become the world's leading tourist destination and will be the fourth tourist-generating country by the year 2020, the World Tourism Organization forecast yesterday.
Francesco Frangialli, secretary-general of the organization, said China will achieve a historic transformation, becoming not only a huge Asian tourist nation but a giant among the world's tourism leaders in the next two decades.
Frangialli made his remarks at the 15th session of the general assembly of the World Tourism Organization, which is being held now through October 24 in Beijing.
In a speech yesterday at the event, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said the tourism industry is a new but truly dynamic part of the economy of China, and it will become a pillar industry by 2020.
According to long-term goals stated by the China National Tourism Administration (CNTA), inbound arrivals to China will reach 210 million within two decades, and the total tourist income will surpass 2,500 billion yuan (US$302 billion), or 8-11 per cent of the country's gross domestic product.
Meanwhile, China has become a fast-growing, tourist attraction in Asia and even the world.
The Chinese Government has approved Cuba, Croatia, Hungary and Pakistan as nations it hopes Chinese tourists will visit beginning November 1.
So far, China has approved 28 destination countries and regions open to Chinese nationals to make self-supported tours, and another 20 other candidate nations are on a waiting list to become destinations, according to Zhang Xiqin, vice-chairman of the CNTA.
In August 2003, the number of Chinese outbound travelers reached 2.1 million, increasing by 34.5 per cent compared with the same period last year.
From January to August, the total number of Chinese outbound travellers was 11.8 million, with an increase of 15 per cent year-on-year, according to the latest statistics from the State tourism authority.
The World Tourism Organization is an inter-governmental tourism organization with 141 countries as full members, seven associate members and more than 320 affiliate members. The organization will be transformed into a specialized agency of the United Nations in early November.
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