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Tourism to Rebound in Wake of SARS
2004-10-27
"The phone in my office have been ringing rather frequently in the past two days. We are excited about the revival of China's tourism industry," said Han Kui, vice general manager of the Outbound Department of the China Youth Travel Service Tours Holding Company.

Like Han, people with the tourism sector believe that China's tourism will soon recover its rapid momentum, and tourism industry will enter a new growth period.

The market volume and management will return to normal pre-SARS levels, said Wei Xiao'an, a senior official with the China National Tourism Administration (CNTA).

During the past two months, when tourism was nearly at a standstill, many enterprises turned to improve their internal management. Hotels bought new furniture.

"The market will be greatly enhanced," said Liu Jiaxiang, general manager of the China Travel Service.

A survey recently conducted by "Ctrip Company", the biggest tourism website on the Chinese mainland, indicates that nearly 80 percent of the respondents have a plan to travel in the coming two months with the effective control of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS).

Urban dwellers will pay more attention to their health and safety in the future. They prefer day trips, suburb tours, self-guided tours and family tours. Travelers will choose outdoor sites, according to Zhang Guangrui, director of the Tourism Research Center of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

CNTA will soon authorize group travel. Travel agencies are promoting short trips and small groups. South Africa and Germany have announced plans to promote tourism in China and welcome more visitors.

Local governments will also play an important role in tourism recovery. The Beijing Tourism Bureau will increase regional cooperation and promote Asian tourism. Shanghai has prepared tours of the Yangtze River and has invited overseas journalists and travel agencies to visit the city.

Experts say that, although temporarily affected by SARS, China's unique tourism resources remain attractive.

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