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China urges more tourism cooperation among Asian countries
( 2003-11-03 22:33) (Xinhua)

Asian countries can only accelerate national and cross-border tourism and create opportunities by breaking barriers and strengthening cooperation and common development, a senior Chinese tourism official said Monday.

Sun Gang, deputy director of the National Tourism Administration, was speaking at a "Tourism Cooperation in Asia" session of the Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) annual conference 2003.

Sun noted that the forum organizing committee's decision to include the session showed that further cooperation and common development in Asia's tourism industry had become an issue of common interest.

Asian countries, Sun acknowledged, must face the reality that their tourism industries lagged behind the Western nations in terms of the exploitation of tourism resources and its proportion of gross national product.

Arrivals of stay-over tourists in northeast Asia, ASEAN and South Asia numbered 112 million in 2001, accounting for only 16.16 percent of the world total, he said.

"Asia is not only a leading tourism destination for the world, but an important source for global tourists," Sun said.

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