China third most popular among tourists

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3 Nov 2010
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Do you know the land of the Great Wall is more
popular tourist destination than the Alps of
Switzerland? The UN has recently ranked China as
the world's third most popular tourist destination. It
has overtaken Spain to take the third spot on the
list of the world's most favourite tourist destination s prepared by the UN World Tourism Organization. France with 78.95 million foreign tourist arrivals
topped the list while the US came second with
60.88 million. Last year, the number of foreign tourists in China
reached 55.66 million, up 9.4% compared to 2009,
said Man Hongwei, director of the international
coordination department at the China National
Tourism Administration. The industry maintained an annual average
revenue growth of 15% during the past five years,
China Daily quoted Man as saying. The number of
outbound Chinese tourists hit 57.39 million in
2010, up 20.4% year-on-year. Xu Daoming, general manager of the marketing
department at the China Travel Service, said his
company saw robust growth in inbound tourism
last year. "The Shanghai Expo and the Asian Games in
Guangzhou were major reasons for the increased
momentum that moved the inbound travel market
out of the shadow of the international financial
crisis," Xu said. Tourists from Taiwan, Macao, Japan, Vietnam and
India, among others, have kept up the growth
momentum in 2010, he said. There has also been
an increase in the number of tourists arriving from
Russia and the US, he added. Zhao Huanyan, a tourism industry expert at the
Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, said the new
ranking would benefit the booming tourism sector
in China. He said luxury hotels such as the Hong Kong-based
Shangri-la hotel group are a good example,
employing strategies to open hotels in popular
destinations in China and in other countries and
regions, and attracting in-bound and out-bound
Chinese travellers. The UN tourism agency has forecast that China
could surpass France as the world's largest tourist
destination by 2015. However, Shao Qiwei, head of the National Tourism
Administration of China, has a word of caution: The
tourism industry is fragile and can be impacted by
natural disasters, disease epidemic and
emergencies. He said that against such a backdrop, the tourism
industry in the Asia Pacific region should boost
cooperation to get good result. The Asia Pacific
region is currently the world's fastest-growing
tourism destination, according to the daily. Like
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