industry, one of the country's economic sectors victimized by the severe
acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) disease, has begun to pick up since the
beginning of June as the epidemic has been on decline and is disappearing.
The National Tourism Administration (NTA) has decided to re-open the
domestic tourism market gradually following the World Health Organization's
(WHO) lifted its tourism advisory against Guangdong province on May 23.
The NTA also decided steadily to resume the work of organizing Chinese
citizens traveling abroad and overseas tourists traveling in China in
compliance with the SARS situation.
Since Guangdong-Hong Kong and Macao travel resumed in early June, Shenzhen
city, neighboring Hong Kong, has seen a rapid rise in the number of tourist
groups to and from Hong Kong. The city sent 36 tourist groups to Hong
Kong on Jun. 1 alone.
Guangdong province was China's first province affected by SARS, with
more than 1,500 people infected. Most of the SARS patients have been discharged
from hospitals in the province.
Owing to the outbreak of SARS, all the province's tourism agencies suspended
operations at the end of April.
There are more signals indicating the gradual recovery of the tourism
The Beijing Safari Park re-opened to visitors on Jun. 7 after a two-month
closure because of SARS and, in Hainan, an island province in south China,
local tourists have begun flocking to attractions such as the tropical
wildlife and plant park, and the coastal scenic spots in Sanya city at
the southern tip of the island.
The outbreak of SARS dealt a severe blow to China's tourism industry.
Statistics show that the country received 5.649 million tourists from
overseas in April, 30 percent less than the figure for the same month
of last year. The number of stay-over foreign tourists was only 1.82 million
for April, a drop of 42 percent as compared with the same month last year.
The national capital, Beijing, hosted 18,000 tourists from overseas in
May, a drastic decrease of 93.9 percent year-on-year.
To revive China's tourism industry, many provinces including southwest
China's Sichuan and Yunnan provinces and eastern Jiangsu province have
launched tourism promotion activities, encouraging people to travel within
their own provinces. Such programs have encouraged a large number of travelers.
The scenic zone around Qingcheng Mountain and Dujiang river Dam scenic
zone in the southwestern Sichuan province, which has been cited on the
World Natural and Cultural Heritage list, began to receive tourists from
Jun. 1. More than 26,000 people from Sichuan traveled to the site that
Jiuzhaigou, another World Natural Heritage site in Sichuan, attracted
more than 10,000 native tourists that day, and the number of visitors
to the elegant and lovely site have since begun to pick up.
More than 20 scenic spots in the province joined the tourism promotion
activity of "Sichuan people traveling in Sichuan".
Meanwhile, east China's Jiangsu Province resumed in-province travel on
Jun. 7. And more than 800 travel agencies in the province resumed business
the same day.
In the latest development, over 30 travel agencies from across China
signed a SARS control agreement Tuesday afternoon in Guangzhou, capital
of southern Guangdong province, in preparation for the rejuvenation of
The travel companies agreed to prioritize tourists' health and safety
as the people are urged time and again to maintain their vigilance against
the possible re-emergence of the SARS disease.
Incomplete statistics show that passenger numbers on flights between
China's major tourist cities have resumed to the 50 to 90 percent of their
levels prior to the SARS outbreak.