China's retail sales in the hotel and catering sector rose 17.4 percent year on year to hit 298.36 billion yuan (US$37.3 billion) in the first three months of 2007.
Figures published on Friday by the Ministry of Commerce showed that retail sales from the hotel and catering sector accounted for14.1 percent of the country's total retail sales of consumer goods during the same period.
Statistics also showed the number of newly approved foreign-funded hotels and catering projects drop 22.3 percent year-on-year to 171, with contracted foreign investments totaling US$380 million, down 28.1 percent.
Actualized foreign investment increased 5.4 percent to US$190 million, said the ministry.
The ministry forecast that the retail sales of China's catering sector would hit 1.21 trillion yuan this year.
(Xinhua News Agency April 21, 2007)