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China's tourism revenue to rise 3% in 2009
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China's tourism revenue is expected to rise 3 percent this year to 1.2 trillion yuan (175.6 billion U.S. dollars) as rising domestic travel will help offset falling inbound tourism, that has suffered from the global recession and the A/H1N1 flu outbreak.

The total revenue would include 35 billion U.S. dollars earned from overseas tourists, down 5 percent from last year, and 950 billion yuan from domestic travelers, up 8 percent, said a tourism report released Wednesday by the China Tourism Academy, a tourism research institute under the National Tourism Administration.

The report said China expected to see 124 million inbound trips this year, down 5 percent from a year earlier. The number of inbound tours longer than one night would drop 10 percent to 48.2 million.

The report said the number of inbound trips declined 5 percent to 62 million in the first six months.

Dai Bin, deputy director with the academy, said the outbreak of A/H1N1 in April added to the woes of the global tourism industry, which was suffering from the global economic recession.

Dai said it was unlikely inbound tourism would recover in the second half, but domestic and outbound tourism would increase if the spread of flu virus was curbed in China.

The report said the outbreak of the flu virus had a negative impact on the country's tourism, but tourism authorities had launched a series of stimulus plans to boost domestic tourism, such as promotion of rural tourism and tourism coupons, which helped buoy domestic tourism.

The first half-year saw 1 billion domestic trips, up 10 percent from a year ago, and a revenue of 500 billion yuan, up 10 percent.

Domestic tours were expected to total 1.9 billion for the year, up 10 percent.

The report said 22.5 million outbound trips were made from January to June, up 1 percent from the first half last year. It also forecast a 3 percent rise in outbound trips to 47 million this year.

Dai said China's outbound tourism was increasing, but at a slower pace as people delayed or canceled trips because of the flu. The figure was compared to an 11.9 percent rise to 45.8 million last year.

China's tourism revenue totaled 1.16 trillion yuan last year, including 874.9 billion yuan from local travelers and 283.9 billion yuan from overseas tourists.

(Xinhua News Agency July 9, 2009)

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