One of the top five travel agencies in the world is seeking to set up a wholly-owned travel agency in Guangzhou, capital of South China's Guangdong Province, a tourism official said yesterday.
Once the Switzerland-based Kuoni Travel's application is approved, it would be the first wholly foreign-owned travel agency in the city, according to Jin Dajian, an official of the Guangdong Provincial Tourism Administration.
He would not predict when the application would get the green light but was optimistic about the outcome.
Kuoni Travel, headquartered in Zurich, was founded in 1906; and about 75 percent of its turnover is generated outside Switzerland.
Kuoni set up two offices in Shanghai and Beijing earlier this year.
"The wholly-owned travel agency in Guangzhou will be under the control of Kuoni Travel (China) Ltd in Hong Kong," Reto Wilhelm, vice-president of Kuoni Travel, said yesterday. "And the Guangzhou company will administer Kuoni's business across the Chinese mainland."
Kuoni Travel focuses on the high-end tourism market and that is why it chose Guangzhou to be its base on the mainland, he said.
"Guangzhou attracts the most overseas investment and a large number of internationally well-known companies have a base in the city. It's a great chance for Kuoni Travel's future development."
Last year, Kuoni brought more than 20,000 foreign visitors to China who spent about US$26 million.
(China Daily August 25, 2005)