Tourism in China
tourism in China sprang up in the early 1950s. In 1954, the China
International Travel Service was established, with 14 branches in Guangzhou,
Shanghai, Beijing and other major cities. In 1964, the State Tourism
Administration of China was formally established.
Since the initiation of
the policies of reform and opening to the outside world in 1978, China's tourism
has entered a stage of rapid development. In 1998, the number of tourists
entering China reached 63.48 million, of which 7.11 million were foreign
tourists, 35 times the figure for 1978.
Consequently, the foreign exchange
income from this industry reached US $12.6 billion, 48 times that of 1978.
Currently, China has become an important tourism destination in Asia, and ranks sixth in the number of arrivals in the world. Domestic tourism is also
In 1998, the number of domestic tourists reached 695
million, spending a total of 239.1 billion yuan - 10 percent and 74 percent
increases over 1995, respectively. With the improvement of Chinese
people's living standards, Chinese citizens have an increasingly strong interest
in traveling abroad. In recent years, Chinese citizens have traveled to
Southeast Asia and Europe.
Foreign travel agencies are now opening offices
in China to attract Chinese to travel abroad.
China is fast on its way to becoming a country with developed tourism, and
constantly improving tourism facilities and services. It is estimated
that, by 2020, China will be the world's No. 1 tourism destination and the
fourth largest nation of tourists.
transportation system, comprising railways, highways, water transport and civil
aviation, has developed in a robust way, along with the tourism industry.
China has set up 1,122 domestic and international air routes, and conditioned
buses ply among all the scenic spots to provide comfort and convenience for
tourists. At hotels, tourists may book train, bus, ship and air tickets to
books, paintings, native products, rare medicinal herbs and handicrafts are all
popular with foreign visitors. And handicraft shops can be found in most
China is a vast land, rich in
tourism resources. It has scenic spots and
historical sites, spectacular landscapes and
colorful and varied national customs. At
present, there are two major tour routes in China:
One is the "S" shaped traditional tour
route, containing famous political and cultural
cities such as Beijing, Xi'an, Shanghai, Suzhou
and Hangzhou; the other one is the crescent-shaped
tour route containing coastal open regions, such
as the Liaodong and Shandong peninsulas and the
Yangtze and Pearl river deltas.
Following the "S" shaped
tour route, tourists may climb the Badaling Great
Wall and visit the Imperial Palace and Temple of
Heaven in Beijing, and view the terracotta
soldiers and horses excavated from the Mausoleum
of the First Qin Emperor, the Stele Forest and the
Great Wild Goose Pagoda in Xi'an, wander along the
bustling Bund and Nanjing Road and through the
Pudong New Zone in Shanghai, enjoy Suzhou's
gardens and the sights of the West Lake in
Following the crescent-shaped tour
route, visitors may get some idea of the enormous
changes which have taken place in the open coastal
cities since the initiation of reform and opening
to the outside world, and appreciate the charming
seaside areas in north and south China.
Moreover, the coastal towns all have holiday
villages and various recreation facilities.
In the '99 International Ecological Tourism Year,
China is sponsoring an ecological tour route.
The purpose of this new program is
to enhance people's understanding and knowledge of
environmental protection through ecological tours.
The tour begins on the Inner Mongolia Prairie and
continues via Shanzi's Hengshan Mountain (one of
the famous five mountains). The others are
Taishan in Shandong, Hengshan in Hunan, Huashan in
Shaanzi and Songshan in Henan), Mount Wudang,
sacred to Taoists, in Hubei, the Three Gorges of
the Yangtze River, Shenongjia in Hubei, Wulingyuan
near Zhangjiajie in Hunan, Jiuzhaigou in Sichuan,
and Guilin City, Beihai beach and areas bordering
on Vietnam in the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous
Of them, Zhangjiajie and
Jiuzhaigou are highlights and have been designated
as key tour areas for the Ecological Tourism Year.
This ecological tour route contains scenic spots,
historical sites and prairies in north China and
strange peaks, grotesque rocks, elegant waters and
rural scenery in south China, famous mountains and
large rivers inland and Beihai beach in Guangxi,
providing tourists with opportunities to
experience the time-honored civilization and
spectacular landscapes of China.
Chinese music, dance and opera,
and the culture and customs of ethnic minorities
are treasure stores of tourism resources.
Coming to China, tourists appreciate folk art,
including uniquely charming Peking Opera
performances and comic dialogues, and also learn
about ethnic customs such as the Dai Water
Sprinkling Festival, Ti Torch Festival, Bai March
Street, Zhuang Singing Festival and Mongolian
Nadam Fair. Besides, tasting Chinese cuisine
is an absolutely necessary part of tourism in
China. The Beijing Roast Duck of the
Quanjude Restaurant, Mongolian boiled mutton,
Guangdong's roasted piglet, Hangzhou's West Lake
vinegar fish, Sichuan's spicy bean curd and a
variety of local-flavor snacks are only some of
China's culinary delights.
ORGANIZATIONS AND TOURIST SERVICE
The State Tourism
Administration, functioning under the State
Council, is the administrative organ of the
nation's tourism trade. Its functions are to
formulate policies and establish systems for
developing tourism, draw up development plans,
organize foreign publicity and issue tourism
information, and supervise and examine the
implementation of policies and plans. The
State Tourism Administration has branches in all
provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities,
as well as offices in Tokyo, New York, Paris,
London, Frankfurt and the Hong Kong Special
There are travel agencies in
every city in China. Among them, the
following three major agencies host and make
arrangements for tourists coming to China:
China International Travel
Service - With headquarters in Beijing and
branches in all provinces, autonomous regions,
municipalities and some of the open cities, it
specially serves foreign tourists.
China Travel Service and the
Overseas Chinese Travel Service of China -
Both cater to overseas Chinese residents, Hong
Kong, Macao and Taiwan compatriots, and foreign
Chinese returning as tourists or to visit
relatives. Both are headquartered in
Beijing, and have branches in open cities, open
areas and hometowns of overseas Chinese, as well
as permanent offices in Hong Kong, Macao and
China Youth Travel Service -Based
in Beijing, it hosts mainly young foreign people,
young overseas Chinese and young compatriots from
Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan.
In addition, there are the
China International Sports Travel Company, China
Culture Travel Service, China People's
International Travel Company, China Tian'e
International Travel Company and China Women's
Travel Service, all catering to foreign tourists.
Since the initiation of the
policies of reform and opening to the outside
world, China has built, expanded and renovated
many hotels and restaurants to satisfy the needs
of tourists. China today has over 3,000
star-rated hotels. Leading five-star hotels
are the Palace Hotel, Grand China Hotel and
Shangrila Hotel in Beijing, the Hilton Hotel,
Garden Hotel and New Jinjiang Hotel in Shanghai,
the White Swan Hotel, China Hotel and Oriental
Hotel in Guangzhou, the Fulihua Hotel in Dalian
and the South China Sea Hotel in Shenzhen.
Besides, there are now hotels to meet the needs of
travelers in all large and medium-sized cities and
special scenic areas.