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Tourism Boom in Festive Season
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The booming Guangdong Province made a spectacular gain in tourism revenue in the past week-long Spring Festival holiday hitting the benchmark 10 billion yuan.


More than 20 million tourists visited the warm southern province from February 18 to 24, which represented an increase of nearly 8 percent from the previous Spring Festival holiday, according to Guangdong Tourism Department.


The overnight visitors amounted to more than 5.2 million while the one-day tourists totalled roughly 14 million, up 2.3 percent and 10.1 percent, respectively, from the corresponding holiday last year.


The visitors' rush invigorated catering industry, hotels and retailing markets during the week, which generated 10.2 billion yuan in tourism revenue, up 9 percent from a year before.


In Guangzhou, the capital city, the tourism receipt surged 5 percent to hit nearly 3.1 billion yuan, the best performance since 2003, according to Guangdong Tourism Department.


The number of tourists to the major scenic spots in Guangzhou increased by 21 percent to about 5 million during the week while another 7.8 million people visited its famous vehicle-free commercial streets, including the Shangxiajiu shopping street and Beijing Road shopping street.


To attract tourists, especially those from middle-to-long-haul market, travel agents in Guangdong launched some special routes to take advantages of the New Year blessings, delicious food, hot spring and gold courses.


There had been a marked increase in the visitors from South Korea, Japan and Europe, said the department.


While the number of tourists and tourism revenue rose, the complaints also dropped and safety measures improved, said the department.


The department survey showed that more than 95 percent of the respondents said they were satisfied with the trip to Guangdong.


The success of the Spring Festival holiday laid a solid foundation for the tourism industry in Guangdong, one of the most affluent regions of China, to achieve a better performance this year.


Last year, the province consolidated its No.1 position in the country in terms of tourism revenue by netting some 212.5 billion yuan, which represented an increase of 12.9 percent from a year before.


The number of overseas visitors also surpassed 100 million on the day of December 26, which surpassed France, United States and Spain. These visitors generated some $7.5 billion revenue.


Zheng Tongyang, director of Guangdong Tourism Department, said the province would continue to host Guangdong International Tourism and Culture Festival in November.


The department is devoted to exploring more tourism resources to lure more visitors this year, Zheng added.


Meanwhile, the province will have couple of new five-star hotels this year, not only in some developed cities like Guangzhou and Shenzhen but in the under-developed northern mountainous areas.


(China Daily March 5, 2007)


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