Central China's Hunan, the home province of the late Chairman Mao Zedong, is aiming to build itself into a major tourist destination over the next five years.
According to a work conference of the provincial government on tourism promotion, Hunan has mapped out a five-year blueprint to attract one million overseas tourists and 95 million domestic tourists per year during the period.
The town of Shaoshan, the birthplace of the late Chairman Mao Zedong, is an important mecca for Chinese tourists.
The province, which also features spectacular mountain scenery at Zhangjiajie, hopes to earn nearly 110 billion yuan (US$13.75 billion) in annual tourism revenue by 2010, with one billion U.S. dollars from overseas tourists and 100 billion yuan (US$12.5 billion) from domestic tourists.
The booming tourism industry will provide employment opportunities for local people, especially farmers as the focus of tourism will shift from urban visits to rural tours during the period.
In 2006 alone, Hunan aims to attract 740,000 overseas tourists and 75 million domestic tourists. Meanwhile, the province is expected to earn a tourism revenue of 54 billion yuan (US$6.75 billion), 20 percent more than 2005.
(Xinhua News Agency March 6, 2006)