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Sichuan beckons tourists with pledge of safety
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Tourists can now travel safely to Sichuan's scenic spots, except those in the 30 counties seriously damaged by the May 12 earthquake, a senior provincial official said in Beijing yesterday.

Tourists can now travel safely to Sichuan's scenic spots after May 12 earthquake.
Tourists can now travel safely to Sichuan's scenic spots after May 12 earthquake.

Traveling to parts of Sichuan not hit by the quake is absolutely safe, Qi Guosheng, deputy secretary general of the provincial government, said.

Sichuan's tourism revenue was 100 billion yuan (US$14.6 billion) last year. And despite having such attractions as the Dujiangyan irrigation system, Mount Qingcheng and the giant panda reserve, the 30 counties account for only 15 percent of the revenue.

Tourists can take some provincial tourism bureau recommended trips such as the Mount Emei-Leshan world heritage, southern Sichuan ecological and the Chengdu tours, Qi said.

"The recommended tours are 100 percent safe from drinking water to transportation."

Sichuan expects the number of tourists visiting areas not hit by the quake to increase by 20 percent, and it is considering including the quake ruins in its tour itinerary, he said.

"The ruins will remind visitors of the unprecedented damage caused by the quake, as well as the support and care shown by people from across the country."

The idea has been included in the province's three-year tourism recovery plan, which was completed recently.

Tourism almost came to a standstill in many areas of Sichuan after the quake, which killed nearly 70,000 people.

Wu Mian, deputy director of the Sichuan tourism bureau, however, said on Saturday that the tourism industry is on the path to recovery in some areas not seriously hit by the quake.

Mount Emei in the southwestern part the province, which is famous for its sceneries and Buddhist heritage, received more than 12,000 tourists on July 5 and 6 alone, up 8 percent year-on-year, according to Xinhua.

To get things rolling once again and attract more visitors, many tourist sites and hotels in Sichuan are offering discounts.

Travel agencies in Chengdu said the number of tour groups to the scenic spots in Sichuan have been increasing sharply since July. And some tour groups from Taiwan and Hong Kong, and Thailand, too, have visited the province after the quake.

(China Daily July 14, 2008)

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