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China's first tourist group to Hungary sets out
( 2004-01-21 08:45) (Xinhua)

Led by tourist guide Zhao Huairu, 17 Chinese tourists set out from Beijing Tuesday to Hungary. They will spend their last day of China's goat year on board and welcome the new monkey year in central Europe.

This is the first tourist group after Hungary gained the authorized destination status (ADS) on November 1, 2003.

Organized by the China Travel International (CTI), the group will arrive in Budapest via Amsterdam. Due to the lack of direct flights from Beijing to Budapest, the cost of air tickets occupiedhalf of the trip fee of around 16,500 yuan (some 2,000 US dollars),said Guo Yimei, an official with CTI.

Although the cost is quite expensive, according to experts, many consumers still hoped to register for the trip. This indicated China's outbound tourism market was maturing.

The launching of the first group marked the new period of bilateral tourism exchanges, said Hungarian ambassador to China Mihaly Bayer.

Lying in the heart of Europe, the nation is divided by the blueDanube river. The enchanting natural landscape and a prolonged history with rich culture enabled Hungary to become a holiday venue in Europe, said Robert Vertes, a Hungarian tourism official.

"Tourism exchanges between two nations should be two-way," saidGu Xiaoyuan, deputy director of the Beijing Tourism Bureau. "We welcome Hungarian tourists to China also. Next month, we will hosta Hungarian tourist delegation to Beijing," he said.

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