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Overseas tourism lures Chinese holidaymakers
Updated: 2004-09-21 16:16

As the week-long National Day holiday is around the corner, tourism officials from several countries and regions have flocked to China, in hopes to draw larger crowds of Chinese holidaymakers.

"The growing potential of China's tourism market is most lucrative not only to Egypt but also to the whole world," said Dr. Nasser Abdel-Aal, tourism affairs consul of Egyptian Embassy in China.

Dr. Abdel-Aal is here to attend a Yangtze Delta tourism fair in Wuxi, a scenic city in East China's Jiangsu Province, that opened over the weekend.

His country signed a memo with China in 2001 that made Egypt a country of destination for Chinese tourists.

According to Abdel-Aal, the number of Chinese tourists to Egypt has been doubling annually since the his country received the first group in 2002. "Each of Chinese travelers usually spends more than 200 US dollars a day and their duration of stay is eight days," he acknowledged. "That's why we have taken a keen interest in the China market."

Singapore has chosen "A Do", a trendy Singaporean pop singer who has found success among the Chinese, as its spokesman to promote tourism at the fair.

The city state aims to focus on the booming Yangtze Delta market instead of large cities like Beijing and Shanghai, said Jane NG Siew Wai, a Singapore Tourism Board official in charge of east China affairs.

She noted that tourism authorities in Singapore are working to offer a wider range of cultural and food products to prolong the Chinese tourists' stay in Singapore.

According to NG, Chinese tourists to Singapore totaled 670,000 in 2002, "and we hope the figure will top 700,000 this year."

The popularity of sitcoms made in the Republic of Korea have brought a growing number of Chinese tourists to the Southeast Asian country in recent years. To cater to the needs of the Chinese travelers, ROK tourism authorities have launched a special route that brings tourists to the shooting bases and production centers of the best-known sitcoms, according to Han Hwa-Joon, who is in charge of tourism affairs with ROK Consulate in Shanghai.

Han estimates the number of Chinese tourists to ROK will exceed a 600,000 mark in 2004.

Officials and industry insiders from the Philippines, Hong Kong and Macao are also present at the fair.

China is among the top 10 nations in terms of outbound tourism, according to the World Tourism Organization. Its outbound travelers amounted to 15.99 million in the first seven months of 2004, a 63.7 percent rise over the same period of last year, according to statistics from the China National Tourism Administration.

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