Goal set for quick access by tourists

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Government agencies and enterprises have jointly set a goal to establish a convenient tourism transportation system by 2020, providing easier access to scenic spots and better services for tourists, the Ministry of Transport said on Tuesday.

The plan "accelerates the construction of a more effective and convenient 'quick access' transportation network, including high-speed railway, civil aviation and freeways, to improve the accessibility to and convenience in arriving at scenic spots", said Zhang Dawei, deputy head of the ministry's Planning Department.

"It requires at least two modes of 'quick access' to 5A-rated scenic spots, and one mode to 4A-rated scenic spots," he added.

China has a five-tier tourist rating system based on criteria such as the importance of the site as well as transportation and sanitation. The highest rating, 5A, is awarded by the China National Tourism Administration, while ratings of 4A and below can be given by provincial tourism authorities.

Six government departments and enterprises, including the ministry, the tourism administration, the Civil Aviation Administration of China and China Railway Corp, jointly released the guidance recently to promote the development of transportation and tourism.

Besides the construction of more freeways and high-speed railways, the ministry also aims to build a "scenic route network", including cycling paths and pedestrian walkways, Zhang said.

The plan also encourages such innovative development as opening more scenic railway routes and supporting the development of the cruise industry, said Peng Decheng, a senior official at the tourism administration.

"When I went to Jiuzhaigou (in Sichuan province) in 2003, it took up to 10 hours by bus on a bumpy road from Chengdu," said Zhang Hui, a native of Jiangsu province. She said she had flown to Chengdu, but there was no airport at Jiuzhaigou.

"The natural beauty took my breath away, but the experience on the road was terrible. My legs were swollen because of hours of sitting still on the bus," she recalled.

She warned a friend who was planning to make a trip to Jiuzhaigou last summer.

"They flew directly to Huanglong airport, which is close to the scenic sight. Thanks to the airport, they did not go through what I experienced," she said.

Meanwhile, workers finished laying track for the Shaanxi section of the Xi'an-Chengdu high-speed railway, the first to tunnel through the Qinling Mountains in Shaanxi province, on Tuesday, according to Xinhua News Agency.

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