“Standardization management has become a prominent part of China’s tourism industry, with the implementation of many global management initiatives.” Sun Gang, deputy director of China National Tourism Administration, was quoted as saying at the Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) --Tourism Conference, recently held in Guilin, south China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.
Up to now China has laid out and set down 17 management and evaluation standards for tourism. China has issued more tourism standards than any other country in the world, Sun said. These innovative standards relate to scenic spots, gradation of scenic cities and standardized languages of tour guides within China.
According to Sun, in 1987 China first initiated the hotel star evaluation standard, marking the beginning of standardization in China’s tourism industry. In 1999, China issued the Quality Gradation and Evaluation Standard on Scenic Areas (Spots), the first national management standard to be applied in China’s tourism industry.
Now, a total of 187 scenic spots, including the Badaling section of the Great Wall in Beijing and the Yuyuan Garden of Shanghai, have been ranked as national AAAA grade sites. And 122 cities have been declared as outstanding tourism cities.
What’s more, a series of tourism standards regulating facilities construction, management and services have been set up to cover yachting, toilets, souvenir outlets, travel agencies, the environment and health related issues.
In addition, China has taken the initiative of introducing new concepts such as golden-week, and package-tours, among others, vigorously accelerating tourism development in the country.
Sun said that tourism standards ensure the China’s tourism industry develops in a healthy and productive way, and serves as a blueprint for meeting international standards. At the same time, the standards have created a stable foundation for China to realize its goal of becoming one of the world’s most attractive destinations.
In 1997, the World Tourism Organization predicted that China would become the world’s No.1 tourist destination, as well as the fourth largest touring country.
According to the authorities, China’s foreign exchange revenue from tourism was US$263 million in 1978, US$10.2 billion in 1996, and is predicted to reach US$20 billion by the end of 2002.
In 2001, tourism revenue declined throughout most of the world, but in China foreign exchange revenues from tourism increased 9.7 percent, Sun said.
Sun said that China has the future aim of achieving foreign exchange revenues of US$24-26 billion in 2005 in line with the nations Tenth Five-year Plan (2001-2005).
Along with China’s entry into WTO, new opportunities will be created through an increasingly open tourism industry. From January to September 2002, the number of tourists traveling through China increased 10.8 percent, with a 21 percent increase in foreign tourists.
(china.org.cn by Wang Zhiyong)