News from the Chinese tourist industry
China's lucrative and booming tourist industry continues to be one of the most important players in the country's economy. Since economic liberalization was kick-started by Deng Xiaoping in 1978, the investment and export-led aspects of the economy have grown by almost 100%. As well as representatives from the business world, China has also become a magnet for leisure visitors. In 2010 there were around 55.7 million visitors to China, making it the world's third most-visited destination for tourists.
As well as enticing foreign visitors, China enjoys a vast domestic tourist market. In October 2012 it was gauged that an estimated 740 million Chinese chose to holiday within the borders of their own country.
Amongst the many events which have attracted tourists, both domestic and international, was October's ‘Golden Week' holiday. During this period China's 119 major scenic hotspots received a total of 34.25 million visitors in eight days – accounting for a rise of over a fifth in numbers compared to the corresponding tally from 2011. These visitor totals also boosted the revenues coming into the country to the tune of 1.77 billion Chinese Yuan, according to National Tourism Administration.
There were many draws which were popular, including the Confucius Temple in Nanjing, capital city of the Jiangsu province in the east of the country. Other traditionally well-visited locations, such as the Forbidden City, proved to be as potent as ever in attracting curious holidaymakers. Indeed, this ancient treasure trove of architectural delights received record visitor numbers – in the Tuesday of the Golden Week, 186,000 people dropped by. This figure represents the largest single-day number of visitors ever received by the iconic Chinese location.
The government policy of exempting passenger cards from road tolls during Golden Week saw huge numbers of individual road travellers, leading to some congestion around the restaurants and scenic spots. However, according to the Ministry of Transport, although a record 80.8 million road travellers thronged China's highways during Golden Week, this was eased by the fact that rail travel saw an increase of over 9%, with passenger figures rising to 61 million.
During this time, all of China's 119 centrally monitored scenic hotspots reported double-digit growth in tourists coming through their doors and revenue generated.