Fifty tourist sites, including the Forbidden City, Qomolangma (known as Mt. Everest in the West) and the Sun Moon Lake in Taiwan, have been chosen among "Top 50 Chinese Destinations for Foreigners," according to the results of a public poll on Saturday.
Jointly conducted by Beijing-based Global Travel Newspaper and 31 metropolitan publications the poll started in early March and collected about 2 million online responses, 28,000 paper votes and 213,000 text messages.
Wu Fei, secretary-general of the poll's organizing committee, said about 170 sites in 31 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities were listed for voting. "All sites had passed preliminary appraisal by local metropolitan newspapers."
The views of the organizing committee, which comprised professionals in the travel industry and diplomats from 13 embassies in Beijing, also affected the outcome.
But questions have already been raised about the exercise with some well-known tourists sites not listed. Among those not making it into the the 'Top 50' are the Potala Palace in Tibet, the ancient Lijiang city in southwest China's Yunnan Province and the West Lake in east China's Zhejiang Province.
The organizing committee would not comment on this only saying the results reflected the views of voters and provided "a valuable reference to foreign tourists."
According to the China National Tourism Administration 120 million overseas visitors arrived in the country in 2005 and earnings from these travelers surpassed US$29.3 billion.
(China Daily April 10, 2006)