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Booming domestic travel offsets sluggish inbound tourism
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China's booming domestic tourism has offset the negative impact of a declining number of inbound travelers because of the global financial crisis during the first half of this year, an official said Monday.

Hurt by the global financial crisis and widespread A/H1N1 influenza, the number of foreign tourists visiting China declined 8 percent in the first six months compared to the same time last year, posing a grave challenge to China's tourism industry, said Du Jiang, deputy head of the National Tourism Administration (NTA) at an industry meeting in the eastern city of Hangzhou, capital of Zhejiang Province.

But various state stimulus measures had helped ensure the prosperity of the domestic market, he said.

Up to one billion domestic trips were made during the first half, up 12 percent year on year, countering the bad impact brought by the financial crisis, he said.

Tourism revenue increased by 11 percent to 497.9 billion yuan (73.22 billion U.S. dollars) in the same period.

He said the NTA would unveil more stimulus measures to spur domestic travel and promote employment.

Analysts expect a travel rebound in the second half of the year as China would embrace a travel spree during the upcoming National Day holiday, the longest in history, which marks the 60th anniversary of the founding of New China.

As the global economic conditions began to turn around, the number of inbound tourists increased 3 percent in August after falling for 15 consecutive months since May last year.

(Xinhua News Agency September 21, 2009)

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