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Tourism promotion fair leads to big deals
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A tourism promotion fair that highlighted the provinces and regions of the Pan Pearl River Delta (PPRD) gained several billion dollars in investment that will benefit the region's tourism industry.


The PPRD Tourism Promotion Fair last Friday was an important part of the ongoing Guangdong International Tourism and Culture Festival.


More than 1,200 guests from home and abroad attended the fair. The fair drew $2.8 billion in domestic and foreign investment into the PPRD region. The investment covers 138 contracted projects.


It's the third time for the provincial government to hold the tourism promotion fair. But this year's fair had some special qualities compared to the previous two.


The mountain areas and west and east of Guangdong, which are less developed, signed 77 investment projects worth $1.04 billion. The investment in these areas represents half of the total in the province.


Some local natural tourism projects are very popular with investors. For instance, a forest park in the city of Zhaoqing drew a big investment from the Hong Kong Special Autonomous Region; an eco-park in Huizhou largely be invested by a Taiwan businessman. The foreign investment into natural tourism resources is $680 million.


Tourism service projects are most popular in all promotion projects. At the fair, 105 tourism service corporation projects were signed, involving an investment of $1.63 billion.


Compared to the previous two fairs, the projects being promoted are larger. On average, each project was valued at about $15 million.


Chinese tourism has developed rapidly in recent years. China has become the most desirable international tourism destination, the World Tourism Organization said.


Given that Guangdong is among the provinces with the most tourism resources, political and commercial interests worked together to push the province's resources at the fair.


Tang Bingquan, deputy governor of Guangdong, said the province is an economic giant as well as a big tourism attraction. The 17th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, which ended last month, provided a new starting point for Guangdong. The new State and provincial policies provided a larger stage for Guangdong's tourism development.


"Thanks to the improving investment environment of Guangdong, our group's business is increasingly flourishing," said Song Hongxia, assistant to the general manager of Shenzhen-based China OCT Group.


At the same time, more people at the fair said the regional corporation in the Pan Pearl River Delta is important.


Liu Zhiming, vice-director of Hunan Tourism Administration, said the province would work harder to improve the communication and cooperation of PPRD's tourism in the future.


(China Daily November 28, 2007)

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