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Hangzhou, Chengdu, Dalian Named 'Best Tourist City'
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A picture taken from the Holiday Zone of Jinshi Beach in Dalian City, Northeast China's Liaoning Province.Hangzhou, Chengdu and Dalian were named "China's best tourist city" on Feb. 8.


The Melting Snow on the Broken Bridge, the most romantic scene of the ten must-see around the West Lake, Hangzhou City, East China's Jiangsu Province. The stone-arched Broken Bridge is where the characters of a famous Chinese folktale, Xu Xian and a beautiful girl, who is actually a white snake, first met and fell in love with each other.


People convene in Hangzhou city, East China's Zhejiang Province to watch the annual tidal bore in the Qiantangjiang Estuary that usually comes around Aug 18 in the Chinese lunar calendar every year.


The children show the tea art in Qintai Road, Chengdu City, Southwest China's Sichuan Province.



One city was described as "the most splendid and luxurious in the world" by Marco Polo in the 13th century.


Another, with a history that dates back more than 2,000 years, is known as the "Kingdom of Heaven" because it has never seen flood or drought thanks to its unique geological and weather conditions. 


And the third is a coastal city that consistently pops up in the list of the country's most liveable cities.


On Thursday, the three Hangzhou, Chengdu and Dalian received another honor: they were named "China's best tourist city" by the National Tourism Administration and the United Nations World Tourism Organization.


They won the acclaim the first for any Chinese city based not only on what they are famous for, but also on a set of criteria compiled by the world tourism body. 


They range from clean accommodation, sanitary facilities, scenery and sights in an unpolluted environment to friendly service and availability of information.


They had to pass appraisal in such sectors as tourism resources, protection of natural scenery and cultural sights, communications and infrastructure, tourism facilities and services, as well as tourism marketing.


More cities are expected to apply for the title this year.


Liu Zhenwan, head of the Dalian tourism administration, said he hoped the honor would bring more tourists from home and abroad, boosting job opportunities, revenues and taxes. 


Nearly 250 of the 661 cities have been named by the administration as a "top-quality tourist city" since 1995.


In 2001, the administration started a project with the world tourism body to set standards for best tourist city. A guide for applicant cities was published in 2003 with contributions from global experts, and the pilot project started last January. 


China will become the world's top tourist destination by 2020, Francesco Frangialli, secretary general of the World Tourism Organization, said at the awards ceremony.


China overtook Italy to be the world's fourth most popular destination last year, Frangialli said.


From 1978 to 2005, the number of inbound tourists and revenues increased 66-fold and 111-fold.



(China Daily February 10, 2007)


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