China's domestic tourism industry has been riding a summer boom since the beginning of this month, at the same time increasing numbers of Chinese people go abroad to travel.
Domestic tourism income during the summer holiday is expected to reach nearly 50 billion yuan (US$6 billion), up more than 10 percent from the same period last year, according to sources with the National Tourism Administration.
Beijing's victorious bid to host the 2008 Olympics Games has been partly attributed to the growing numbers, tourism experts have said.
"During the past week, the trains heading for Beijing were all occupied," said a spokesman from the municipal railway passenger transport company of Guangzhou in South China's Guangdong Province.
Train tickets from Guangzhou to Beijing in the coming five days have all been sold out, according to the spokesman.
But just as people seem intent on visiting Beijing, Beijingers seem determined to get out of the city's summer heat.
The Beijing Railway Bureau has opened 28 tourist routes to cities like Shanghai, Dalian, Qingdao, Guangzhou and Qinhuangdao that are always popular get-aways for residents of the nation's capital.
Eager to capitalize on all the movement, a number of Beijing-based travel agencies have begun chartering planes to take tourists to Shanghai and the southern city of Haikou.
Chinese students, currently one of the top tourism demographics, are feeding the foreign travel frenzy. Responding to demand from the universities, travel agencies in Beijing and Guangzhou have opened lines to Singapore, Australia and Japan, where students can study and travel over two weeks to one month.
"I hope my son can improve his English and learn how to live by himself in an English-speaking country," said one Beijing mother, surnamed Wang, who signed her son up for a one-month tour of New Zealand.
According to the Ministry of Public Security's Exit-Entry Management Bureau, during the first six months this year, nearly 5.5 million people went overseas to 190 countries and regions, up 10 percent on the same period last year.
Tourism is the main reason why Chinese citizens go overseas, according to the bureau.
Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions, Thailand, Japan and Russia are the most popular destinations for Chinese from the mainland, the bureau said.
(China Daily 07/19/2001)