Beijing's suburbs benefit big from holiday
( 2003-10-08 09:36) (China Daily)
Beijing's suburbs regained their usual tranquillity yesterday as many people in Beijing chose to rest at home on the last day of the week-long National Day holiday.
Sun Lijun, deputy Party secretary of Sihai Township in northern Beijing's Yanqing County, could put his feet up for a while.
Located deep in the mountains, the township has attracted tourists with the Jiuyan Tower, a building from the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) that is the largest observation tower outside the Great Wall, as well as the area's scenic forest parks and rustic restaurants.
Although official statistics are not yet available, Sun expressed confidence regarding the town's holiday tourist turnover because "thousands" of Chinese and foreign tourists flooded the town's restaurants and scenic spots "all the time during the holiday" up to yesterday afternoon.
The tourist industry has become a pillar for the economy of this outlying area. "That is why our decision to build an artificial lake of 15,000 square metres before this National Day, aimed at adding more tourist attractions to our town, got quick approval from the township People's Congress," said Sun. It will cost the township more than 2 million yuan (US$242,000) to build the artificial lake.
But Sihai is not the only place in suburban Beijing that has gained a lot much from tourism during the holiday.
Zhang Xiaolan, a leading public relations officer with the Beijing's Rural Work Committee, said: "After several years of development, the suburbs have been enjoying increasing appeal among local people."
She said almost all suburban tourist destinations have been full during the holiday, including the many so-called harvest gardens, where tourists pick their own fruit and vegetables.
"We are glad to see our farmers becoming tour guides and cooks, as well as being planters and fishermen as they have always been, and are enjoying better lives," said Zhang.
In downtown Beijing, most scenic spots reported obvious reductions in tourists yesterday after being excessively crowded for almost a week.
The average occupancy rate of Beijing's hotels has dropped back to around 53 per cent after being "almost full."
Beijing tourism administration reported yesterday that domestic tourist traffic spent 3.28 billion yuan (US$395 million) in the city during the week-long National Day holiday, a rise of 16.8 per cent over the same period last year.
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