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Tourism business booms in China with big market
By Cao Ming (China Daily)
Updated: 2004-11-24 21:48

As one of the fastest growing and most intriguing tourism destinations in the world, China is becoming a magnet for travel-related businesses.

Nearly 2,900 such overseas and domestic enterprises gathered in Shanghai Wednesday to attend the 2004 China International Travel Mart (CITM), a jump of 16 per cent from 2002. The CITM shifts between Shanghai and Kunming annually.

The mart has been held five times, three times in Shanghai and twice in Kunming, capital of Yunnan Province.

This year there are 1,196 domestic booths and 652 international booths, up 65 per cent and 35 per cent over last session, said Shen Huirong, director of the Tourism Promotion and International Liaison Department of China National Tourism Administration (CNTA).

"CITM has become the largest international tourism fair in Asia with high professional standards and the most widespread global influence," Shen said.

Tourism was among the pioneering industries which opened up to the outside world. In July 2003, CNTA approved the first foreign owned travel service in China.

Now there are five totally foreign-owned travel services and 13 joint-venture travel services in the country.

Meanwhile, CNTA has also encouraged China's tourism firms "to go abroad" to expand their business and co-operation in other countries. By the end of this year, Chinese tourists travelled in tour groups to 63 countries and regions with Approved Destination Status, Shen said.

Speaking at the opening ceremony Wednesday, He Guangwei, chairman of the CNTA, said that the five-day mart would play a key role in promoting in-depth communication and friendly co-operation between China and other countries and regions.

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