TOPThe Current Situation of Tourism
The first results of 2012 indicate that international tourism continued to show sustained growth in spite of challenging economic conditions.
During the first 2 months of 2012, international tourist arrivals worldwide grew by an estimated 5.7% compared to the same period of 2011, according to the May issue of the UNWTO World Tourism Barometer, released in Batumi, Georgia on the occasion of the 54th UNWTO Commission for Europe.
According to the forecast prepared by UNWTO at the beginning of the year, for the year as a whole, the number of international tourist arrivals is expected to reach one billion for the first time.
TOPBrief Introduction to the Development of China Tourism
In 2010, China became the third tourist world destination (4th in 2009) with 55.98 million tourists behind France and the United States, taking its place to Spain.
“China decided a few years ago that the tourism had to be a pillar of its economy, and it worked ", underlined the General Secretary of World Tourism Organization (WTO), who reminded “that in 2000, the country received only 8 million foreign tourists, six times less than in 2009”.
The National Tourism Administration of The People's Republic of China besides believes that the number of the visitors in China will reach 3.3 billion in 2015.
By 2020, China had to become the first in the world as a tourist destination, but also by the number of national tourists travelling abroad.
The Golden Weeks Giving a Help Hand to the Tourism
In China, there’re 3 weeks of official holidays. Established in 1999 to dope the domestic consumption and the tourism, these legal Chinese national holidays, called "Golden Weeks", take place traditionally at the beginning of the year, in May and in October.
Coupled with the rise of the population living standard, the lifestyle changed, the capacities of spending improved, Chinese are more and more numerous to like travelling for the pleasure.
At the same time, as the international tourism expanded indubitably, the "interior" holidays also took a substantial increase.
To have an idea on what makes a billion 400 million Chinese people, go on a journey during the three weeks of official holidays: you’ll see much more concretely what such a figure means!
Internet—Modern Trip-Planning Style
More and more Chinese plan their trips on the Internet and the tourism market on-line is rapidly intensifying in China, thanks to a consumers' new generation familiar with the Web and with credit cards.
“More and more consumers turn to the Internet to arrange their journeys” estimates an analyst of Market Research Group. “They’re more and more comfortable with this concept and the use of the credit card exploded these last year’s ".
“This increase is mainly due to the urban young people from 24 to 35 years, especially those living in Beijing and Shanghai”, he explains.” Among these, the women show themselves enthusiastic tourists: “30 % tell to plan a travel abroad during the year, 70 % at least a journey in China within six months ", he adds.
China, an Open Country for Tourism
The modern tourism in China originated at the beginning of the 1950s after the establishment of the People's Republic of China on October 1, 1949.
In 1954, the State found the International Tourism Agency of China, and set up 14 branches in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and other cities.
In 1964, was created the China National Tourism Administration (CNTA) which is the Chinese government authority responsible for the development of tourism in the country. The CNTA is subordinate to the State Council, the chief administrative authority of the People's Republic of China. The headquarters are in Beijing, with regional branches in various provinces. It has 18 overseas offices called CNTO (China National Tourism Offices) in 14 countries and regions that are charged with promoting tourism to China.
This governmental institution of administrative management has as main responsibility to promote and administer the tourist activities of the country:
- define the principles, the political measures and organize the tourist development;
- elaborate long-term programs and annual plans;
- organize advertising campaigns and publish information; oversee;
- watch with care over the policies and plans.
Since the reform and the opening in 1978, the Chinese tourism developed very quickly. The tourist economy in China incredibly evolved these last ten years and the growth potential is still important because of the size of China.
China possesses rich and varied tourist resources: the magnificent landscapes, the ancient and rich history and 5,000-year-old brilliant civilization of China which is strewn with world-calibre natural and cultural heritage places. These are the reasons which incite to visit the country, to which it’s necessary to add the numerous ethnic groups who compose the population and bring touches of local colour.
At present, the most popular Chinese organized tours can be illustrated as follows:
- traditional circuits linking the famous historic, political and cultural cities: Beijing, Xi'an, Shanghai, Suzhou and Hangzhou;
- tours which emphasize coastal regions like the Liaodong and Shandong Peninsula and the Changjiang and Zhujiang deltas.
What to See
The Classic Circuits
The classic circuits guide to visit the Badaling Great Wall, the Shenyang Imperial Palace and the Temple of Heaven in Beijing; The Terracotta Army Museum located east to the Tomb of Shihuangdi -Qin First Emperor-, the Forest of Steles of Mao Zedong’s poetries and Big Wild Goose Pagoda in Xi’an; the Bund, Nanjing Road Pedestrian Street and Pudong New Area in Shanghai; Suzhou’s gardens and landscapes of the West Lake in Hangzhou.
The View of Coastal Regions
The second circuit allows to see the big changes arisen in the coastal regions since China Reform and Opening, to admire the littoral landscapes of the South and the North, to enjoy the sea, the sunny beaches and all kinds of nice activities next to the purely tourist attractions.
The Landscape Resources of Western Region
"The vast western regions are particularly rich in natural landscapes and in ethnic cultures and also possess places of interest” indicated Zhu Shanzhong, Vice Chairman of China National Tourism Administration (CNTA). They are becoming a new engine of growth for the tourist industry of the country.
The Chinese traditional dance and opera, the folklore of ethnic minorities are a part of the Chinese tourist resources too.
There are many tourists attracted by the charm of the popular arts as below:
- Cantonese and Beijing Opera (Pekin Opera)—inscribed on UNESCO's World Intangible Cultural Heritages List in 2010;
- Chinese Shanghai Opera, the "Hop-Hop", is a kind of folk song-dance funny duet.
- The habits and customs of diverse ethnic minorities as the ethnic Dai's Water-Splashing Festival, the famous Yi Minority Torch Festival;
- The two main festivals of the Shui people: the Dragon Memorial Ceremony on March 3rd and the Mountain and Forest Memorial Ceremony on June the 6th and 24th;
- The Song Festivals and the Naadam Grassland Festival of Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region.
Gorgeous Food Tours
As for the Chinese cuisine, it’s known all over the world!
The famous Peking Duck of Beijing, the Mongolian Hot Pot, the Roasted Sucking Pig of the Guangdong, the Hangzhou Westlake vinegar fish, the Spicy Tofu of Sichuan as well as diverse regional dishes are only some examples among the diversity of the Chinese specialities.
TOPMeans Implemented by China
In 2000, the National Tourism Administration of the People's Republic of China announced and applied in China a new tourist program: "New Millennium China 2000".
The opportunity, at the birth of the new century, to think about and inventory the tour programs that have been successfully organized in recent years under the guidance of the CNTA, and continue to promote new travel routes planned to interest, surprise and astonish the guests.
A lot of festivals play an active role in introducing China to the rest of the world, speeding up the country’s opening to the outside world, and promoting the trade and economic cooperation with foreign countries, among which the Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival, the Longqing Gorge Ice Lamps Artistic Exhibition in Beijing, the town of Pingyao, Shanxi Province recognized by UNESCO as well as the Yangtze River cruises and the Three Gorges Area.
Other Ways to Attract Tourists
At the same time, the advertising on the internal market of the tourism was investigated on a large scale to allow the people to know better the Chinese tourism and its resources.
As for the listing of sites to Unesco allows especially to increase the international brilliance of China.
Hold World-class Events
The Shanghai Expo was initiated by the Chinese government as yet another first-rate global scale event, similar in significance to the Beijing Olympics, which would symbolize the economic and political rise of China in the 21st century.
Build World-class Amusement Grounds and Museums
It should furthermore not be neglected that China is visited more and more because all generations are concerned from 7 to 77 years old. For example, Beijing Happy Valley or Hong Kong Disneyland born in 2005 allows China to attract the households which are made up with children. And a second theme park raising the brand Disney, Shanghai Disneyland, is planned on the horizon 2016.
Due to the efforts of the government the number of museums explodes in China and the pressure of the Chinese towns of the inside which wants to become like Pingyao, a place where the tourists in search of traditional China can come by thousands, starts.
TOPThe Reception and the Tourist Services
To bring out its tourist resources, China develops more and more its road, maritime and air infrastructures, increases the voyage routes; improve its tourist installations and the quality of its services.
In the effort to reach the world level, the tourist services are now able to satisfy the tourists on all the plans: organization of traveling and distractions, gastronomy, purchases, accommodation and displacement.
Since its opening to the world, China has built a great number of hotels with various levels to answer to the need of the clientele.
Currently, the number of luxury hotels in China reached 13,908, among which 607 are five stars establishments, supporting the tourism infrastructures, according to a report subjected end December 2011 to the National Assembly of the Republic of China.
China count 23,315 travel agencies, among which 1,387 are authorized to offer journeys to foreign countries, indicated Shao Qiwei, director of CNTA.
According to Mr Shao, the tourism of China knew a fast development these last years, with 9.3 billion Chinese and foreign tourists between 2006 and 2010, bringing a total income of 6 000 billion Yuan (950 billion dollars).
The Chinese market of the hotel business is going to surpass that of the United States to become the biggest of the world in 2025, according to a report published by InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), most large international hotel company in the world in terms of number of rooms.
“We consider that China will count 6.1 million rooms in 2025, the same number as the United States at the same time. And before 2039, the number of hotel rooms in China will reach 9.1 million which is four times more than today”, said the report, which based itself on figures resulting from The National Bureau of Statistics of China and from The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).
In 2009, the State Council added the tourism as new industrial pillar in the 12th Five year plan (2011-2015), what is widely considered as a major factor stimulating the hotel and catering industry of China.
“The income of the tourism in China increased by 22.9 % to 646.8 billion Yuan’s (102.67 billion dollars) during the first quarter of 2012”, indicated an official recently.
The Xisha Islands
The Xisha Islands, in the South China Sea, consisted of 45 islands, are situated at 180 nautical miles in the southeast of the island of Hainan.
According to Deng Xiaogang, assistant director of the Committee of development of the Tourism of Hainan, the Islands will be opened to the tourists this year. “A complementary project will concern the offshore islands without inhabitants of Southern China ". (Aujourd'hui la Chine-2012/04/05)
The Island of Hainan
The island of Hainan is about to become today a top destination of the Chinese and international tourism, comparable to Bali or Phuket.
The finale of World Beauty Queen's competition is organized there every year since 2002. The Chinese authorities quickly became aware of the potential of this destination and reacted accordingly by inciting to the investment in the tourist infrastructures and the transport.