China's vast western area has a great potential of tourism resources which can be exploited to build China into a "strong tourism nation," said Shao Qiwei, director of China National Tourism Administration.
He said the urbanization of China's western area is lagging behind China's southeast area. However, it has over two thirds of China's overall tourism resources. Sichuan Province alone has four natural reserves, and one world geographic park.
The development of tourism will create high demand for infrastructure and promote destination construction, as well as stimulate social investment, increase domestic demand and promote other industries, said Shao in Chengdu, capital of Sichuan Province, on Tuesday at the Third Sichuan Tourism Development Conference.
He noted that tourism will also create more job opportunities, especially for local farmers.
Shao said China's western area will enhance its inter-regional cooperation. In the next five years, Sichuan Province will join hands with neighboring Yunnan and Guizhou provinces, Chongqing municipality and China's Tibet Autonomous Region to promote overall tourism development of western region.
(Xinhua News Agency September 1, 2005)