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Sichuan tourism revenue plunges after quake
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Tourism revenue in southwest China's Sichuan Province plunged to a record low in the first three quarters, the impact of the devastating May earthquake being blamed.

The province registered 77.33 billion yuan (11.31 billion U.S. dollars) in tourism revenue in the period, 18 percent down year on year, Xiong Longdong, the provincial tourism bureau marketing head, told a press conference here on Wednesday.

The 14 major tourist destinations in Sichuan received 5.17 million tourists in the first three quarters, 50.3 percent less than last year. Ticket income realized 366 million yuan, a year-on-year drop of 62.2 percent.

"The most notable decrease is in the inbound tourism market," Xiong said. "The number of foreign visitors and tourism revenue both dropped by about 60 percent year on year."

Analysts said the plunge was mainly caused by the devastating May 12 earthquake.

In the first four months, the tourism economy kept a fast growth rate. But in May and June, the hard-hit tourism market saw a drastic plunge. Despite a recovery in July, the market suffered another hit after a strong aftershock in Panzhihua in late August.

The province is working on several schemes to revitalize its tourism industry, such as planning better tourist routes, offering better service and strengthening efforts to promote its tourism sources, Xiong said.

(Xinhua News Agency October 23, 3008)

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