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Facility upgrades set as more tourists plan own vacations

Updated: 2015-08-04
By Su Zhou ( China Daily )

China is to increase its investment in tourism as more and more people are planning trips around the country on their own.

According to the China National Tourism Administration, measures will include providing better shops and restaurants, improving tourism information centers and upgrading hubs where travelers can plan their trip and book accommodations.

The construction of roads connecting scenic spots will be accelerated, along with parking lots, airports in less-developed provinces, and toilets at scenic spots. All of these measures were approved on July 28 by the State Council.

Despite the fast growth of the tourism industry in the first half of this year, the sector is facing some bottlenecks, said Wu Wenxue, deputy head of the administration.

"First, demand has far outstripped supply in the industry," Wu said. "Second, tourism infrastructure investment is inadequate and cannot match the latest development in the industry.

"Third, people's potential need for travel will not become real unless we have our services improved, such as reasonable prices for visiting scenic spots, or tailored tourism products for elders and young people," said Wu.

"These measures are answers to the new demand for better infrastructure and public service facilities in tourist cities as more travelers are now planning their trips by themselves."

Other measures include exploring ways to optimize and adjust holidays, so time off work is spread more evenly rather than being focused only on public holidays.

Village-themed tourism will also be encouraged to unlock the potential of China's tourism industry.

Local governments have started to upgrade their infrastructure and public facilities to grab the opportunities brought by the Silk Road Economic Belt.

Gansu province, with more than 1,600 kilometers of the Silk Road, is rapidly improving its transportation network and construction of scenic spots, entertainment facilities and hotels. By 2020, it plans to have 19 scenic spots with a capacity of 2 million annual visits each, and 11 scenic spots with a capacity of 5 million annual visits.

As the core region on the Chinese stretch of the new route, Xinjiang has started the construction of the Silk Road Economic Belt tourist service center, which will open in three years. It will provide tourists with information about attractions in Xinjiang and neighboring countries included in the belt.

suzhou@chinadaily.com.cn

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