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Changes in China's Tourism Services
2004-10-27
For those western people who have never been to China, the country is seen as mysterious, rich in culture, but probably not easy to get around in. But what is the real situation?

In recent years, the tourism sector has realized the importance of providing convenient services for all travelers.

Changes such as providing more English signs and instructions in cities, tourist sites, train stations and airports, have helped people who doesn't speak Chinese to get around much easier. Western people are now more likely to go and see different places by themselves.

"Last week, we are at Guangzhou, then we flew to Jilin and then we came to Beijing," said a tourist.

With the confidence to travel around the country by themselves, these people also had a chance to experience something different from the usual travel experience.

"This morning, we saw people dancing in the park, which was very thrilling. We don't have that and I wish we did. And we have been dancing with them!" said another tourist.

In order to boost China's tourism, associated departments have carried out various measures to attract greater numbers of tourists.

"Ever after SARS, we have a higher demand on the quality of the services we provided for tourists. We hope to provide everyone with a better environment. And our Great Wall entrance price still remains low," said Liu Lixin, manager of Great Wall Tourism office.

The efforts have made a difference. Some of the changes in tourist sites have been surprising and pleasant even for local people.

"The sanitation is really good here. And nobody smokes or spits. It's good," said a tourist.

At the moment, Chinese tourism services can meet the needs of travelers visiting the country. But still, there is some way to go in making travel in China trouble free.

"There should be more buses going between the tourist sites and towns. The present transport situation is not good enough," said another tourist.

"We need more translations. The problem is we sometimes can't find people who speak English," said a tourist.

Travel in China doesn't always mean 100 percent smooth sailing, but the hardships seem to be part of the charm. Despite the difficulties, people still flock to China's tourist attractions to have an enthralling, if occasionally frustrating, experience.

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