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Tourism to boost hotel industry
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The country's fast-developing tourism industry is expected to boost the hotel sector, a senior official has said.


About 200,000 new hotels, resorts and guesthouses are likely to be built by 2015, head of China National Tourism Administration (CNTA) Shao Qiwei said on Thursday.


Addressing a seminar on domestic and international hotels' groups, he said the new structures will include about 10,000 star-rated hotels. The number of five-star hotels in the country is expected to rise from 361 to 500.


"The World Tourism Organization has forecast that China will grow into a huge tourism market, and have 100 million each of inbound and outbound visitors and 2.8 billion domestic tourists by 2015," he said.


The booming tourism market has created the need for new hotels and other infrastructure facilities, he said.


The Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts plan to open five new facilities in the country this year, and at least 13 more in big cities such Beijing, Shanghai and Xi'an in the near future, the general manager of Traders Hotel at China World Trade Center in Beijing, Xin Tao, said.


In fact, the group plans to open at least 40 new hotels in the country by 2011.


"The Olympic Games has brought us unlimited business opportunities and the increase of leisure, as well as business, travel in China will add to the appeal of hotel operators," she said.


Investment from home and abroad into hotels will hit 340 billion yuan ($47.14 billion) between 2006 and 2010, the CNTA has forecast.


The hotel sector was one of the first to be opened up in China, with Jianguo Hotel in Beijing being the first foreign-invested hotel to be approved by the State Council in 1979.


Since then, 67 hotel brands of 41 international groups have entered the country and are managing 516 hotels at present, according to CNTA statistics.


The hotel business has been expanding over the past three decades, and by the end of last year there were more than 14,000 star-rated hotels, 100 times more than in 1978.


(China Daily January 28, 2008)


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