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New travel documentary encouraging more Americans to visit Beijing

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Chinese officials are looking to revamp the country's tourism industry by appealing to New Yorkers. China's tourism board recently launched a new campaign to convince more Americans that the long haul flight is worth the journey.

China's tourism board recently launched a new campaign to convince more Americans that the long haul flight is worth the journey. 

"Visit Beijing." A new travel documentary by a local television station recently aired in New York hoping to encourage more Americans to visit China's capital.

It's the latest effort by Chinese tourism officials to make Beijing an appealing holiday destination.

In a 2013 tourism competitiveness report compiled by the World Economic Forum, China ranked 45th among 140 countries. Experts say China must step up its marketing strategy in order to compete with neighbouring countries.

"It takes a lot of marketing dollars, a lot of promotion to attract that same visitor. And if you look around the globe and you look at the work that's being done to attract the same tourist, it's significant. People are spending money, they're in the market, they're working on the ease of entry so it's a lot of work and it takes several years to cultivate," said Chris Heywood, senior VP of Communications of NYC.

According to China's National Tourism Administration, a little more than two million Americans visited China in 2013.

Research firm Euromonitor says factors such as air pollution, crowded hotels and a stronger currency have diminished China's attractiveness as a tourist hotspot.

Recent changes to travel visas between the U-S and China, including extended validity from one year to 10 years, are expected to lure more Americans to Beijing. But distance will always be an issue.

"I think the long haul flights probably do come into consideration when Americans are looking to travel. They may be looking at a convenient destination they can get to, get on a beach in a few hours, go to an exotic destination. Some of the urban areas that are very, very far away they may think twice about," Heywood said.

With initiatives like the documentary Visit Beijing and extensions to travel visas, China is hoping it's enough to lure Americans out of the Big Apple and into the Forbidden City.


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