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China: China Tourism Profile




Strong increase supported by a growing need for relaxation and exposure to foreign cultures

Travel and tourism recorded strong increase in 2013, mainly supported by a growing need from Chinese consumers for relaxation amid the quickening pace of life and increasing enthusiasm for experiencing foreign cultures and lifestyles. This robust increase was as well fuelled by rising disposable incomes, which resulted in both domestic and outbound tourism being increasingly affordable to the average consumer in China, in addition to enforcement of a tourism law in 2013.

Decelerating economy and anti-corruption policies underpin the slowdown in growth

In spite of a lot of positive factors propelling the travel and tourism industry in China in 2013, the world economic downturn and tense relations between China and its neighbouring nations, such as Japan, have hindered healthy increase of inbound tourism in particular, resulting in a decline in the number of arrivals in 2013. In addition, the decelerating domestic economy and the anti-corruption policies of the central government severely affected the healthy development of travel retail sales in China, particularly for corporate clients.

Investments, mergers and acquisitions consolidate the leading positions of top players

To fasten and gain price share in an increasingly competitive environment and unfavourable macroeconomic conditions, a lot of leading players made efforts to consolidate their foothold in the travel and tourism industry via mergers and acquisitions, inclunding continuous investment . The number one player in car rental, China Auto Rental Co, integrated the Hertz Corp’s car rental business into China, with the latter finally acquiring a 20% stake and one seat on the board of directors from the former. A dual-brand strategy will be implemented by China Auto Rental Co to target various consumer groups. One of the leading players in travel retail, International, made a series of investments via capital injections into travel-related online platforms, such as,, and in 2013, to provide comprehensive data on travel-related products and services, in order to strengthen its leading position, particularly within online travel sales.

Retail offline sales still dominate while online sales enjoy buoyant growth

Travel retail offline sales still dominated in 2013, with a lot of local consumers accustomed to going to outlets to book tours and to purchase transport tickets; however, online sales demonstrated additional-robust increase. This was due to coming from a small base inclunding the rocketing number of internet users in China, who preferred the convenience and competitive prices of online booking and purchasing of travel products and services. As a result, a lot of retail sales operators are making efforts to venture into online sales, to reach out to additional consumers over the estimate period.

Upbeat outlook for travel and tourism over the estimate period

Travel and tourism is expected to register strong increase over the estimate period, to be driven by dynamic request, particularly with regard to domestic tourist spending and outgoing tourist spending in China. Increasing household incomes will be a major factor in the expected increase at a double-digit CAGR at constant 2013 prices for these categories over the estimate period, together with the rising request for travel as a way of relaxing for most Chinese consumers. As an emerging form of travel, self-drive trips are expected to be favoured by consumers who are in pursuit of casual journeys, resulting in car rental sales recording increase at a double-digit CAGR at constant 2013 prices over the estimate period.

Tourism in China grows despite the world economic downturn

Tourism in China was still able to maintain increase in 2009 despite the world economic downturn which started in late 2008. However, China’s economy started to feel the impact of the downturn in 2009, as inbound arrivals experienced the worse decline in a decade. Despite this, outbound and domestic tourism remained strong, even though Chinese tourists adjusted their travel plans and cut down on long haul travel. Chinese tourists still travelled overseas for their holidays, but even free-spending Chinese tourists felt the heat from the world economic downturn. Short haul regional trips and domestic tourism gained popularity amongst Chinese tourists.

Economic stimulus helps domestic tourism

China was relatively unscathed by the downturn in the world economy, and consumer spending was still strong, albeit growing at a moderate pace. The Chinese government carried out a RMB4 trillion stimulus package in 2009 to help the economy to overcome the world economic slump. The cornerstone of the stimulus package was domestic consumption, as the Chinese government tried to steer the economy from being export-dependent to a self-sufficient domestic economy. Domestic tourism was identified as one of the key drivers, and the Chinese government is helping the national-owned carriers with a cash injection, improving the railway infrastructure, building and upgrading airports and other tourism-friendly measures.

Close tourism links with Macau and Hong Kong

Inbound and outbound tourists to and from the two Appropriate Administrative Regions (SARs), Hong Kong and Macau, continued to lead the ranking. Hong Kong’s reputation as a shopping haven enticed Chinese tourists to part with their money, and Macau attracted Chinese arrivals with its gambling-related activities. Likewise, China’s wide array of tourist attractions, family ties and business dealings with the SARs as well attracted arrivals from Hong Kong and Macau.

World Expo 2010 in Shanghai

Shanghai city will host the World Expo 2010 from May to October. The theme of Expo 2010 is “Better City, Better Life”, with a focus on next policy-making, urban strategies and sustainable development. The cost of hosting the World Expo is estimated by the organisers to be nearly RMB30 billion. However, the event is expected by the Shanghai Municipal Government to attract 70 million domestic and inbound visitors. The construction of the participating nations’ pavilions and sales of merchandise will help to inject a financial boost to the local economy.

Disney theme park in 2014

In 2009, the Chinese government approved the construction of a Disney theme park in Pudong, Shanghai. The announcement marks the confirmation that China is a major tourist hotspot for both domestic and regional travel. Euromonitor International believes that the Disney theme park in Shanghai will not affect the business of the existing Disney theme park in Hong Kong, which was officially opened in 2005. The announcement will not have a significant impact on tourism during the estimate period, as the park is expected to open in 2014.

China is recognized to be one of the world's oldest continuous civilizations. It has to this day the globe's longest continuously used written language system, and the heart of a lot of of the globe's wonderful inventions, inclunding the Four Wonderful Inventions of ancient China: paper, the compass, gunpowder, and printing.

China is known to be a very diverse land inclunding deserts, mountains and fertile river basins. Much of western China is mountains with the Himalaya, Tian and Pamir ranges. Western China as well has to this day a larger than normal desert. Central China consists of mountainous regions. Much of western China is mountains with the Himalaya, Tian and Pamir ranges. Western China as well has to this day a larger than normal desert. Central China consists of mountainous regions.

Because China is so large, it has to this day the majority of regional climates. Northern China can have severe winters with temperatures reaching below 0 degrees Fahrenheit. Central China is milder with temperatures ranging from 30 degrees in the winter to 80 degrees in the summer. Eastern China can have hot wet summers, while the western desert can have temperatures in the 100 degree range. Most of China's rainfall comes around the time during the monsoon season in the range of May and October.

Thanks to its rich tourist resources -- high mountains, elegant rivers, springs and waterfalls, rich and varied folk customs, rare species, scenic spots and historical sites, distinctive opera, music and dance,and world-famous cuisine -- China attracts a large number of domestic and foreign tourists each year.

Today, China has one of the world's major domestic tourist markets and an outbound market growing at a rate unequalled anywhere. In 2004, the incoming tourists reached 109.038 million person-times, 19 % up on 2003; foreign exchange revenue from tourism reached US$ 25.74 billion, a 47.8 % year-on-year increase; the number of tourists from the 16 major source nations hit a record level, far surpassing the 2003 total.

China is emerging as the country with the world's highest increase rate for outbound tourism. According to a survey conducted by an international tourism monitoring agency of Asia-Pacific region, the average daily expenses (excluding purchases) of a Chinese tourist during one long holiday reach US$175; a German Chamber of Commerce survey shows average daily expenses of US$110 in Germany, second to American tourists' US$117; the Swiss Data Network statement puts the figure for Switzerland at $313, the highest spending for any source country.

According to the World Tourist and Travel Council (WTTC), China's travel industry may grow by 10.4 % a year over the next 10 years, lifting China to fourth rank in terms of industry size. The World Tourism Organization predicts that by 2020 China will be the world's top tourist destination, and fourth in outbound tourist numbers with 100 million Chinese people traveling abroad each year.

Jingbo Lake, one of China's leading tourist attractions, is set to be showcased in a high-profile Summer festival. Tourism bosses in the region plan to launch the stunning beauty spot to world travelers with a celebratory inaugural event, scheduled to take place in August of this year.

Located some 80 km from Mudanjiang city in the northern province of Heilongjiang, Jingbo Lake has long been held in high regard for its natural beauty and historical significance. Presently tourism bosses in the region plan to market its appeal to a truly world audience.

Stunning views

Jingbo Lake is one of only three naturally-formed lava-barrier lakes in the world. Set high in the province's mountainous zone and some 350 m above sea level, the lake was originally formed additional than 10,000 years ago following a series of momentous tectonic shifts. The lake, known locally, since the time of the fourteenth century Ming Dynasty, as "Mirror Lake", spans a total of 80 sq km and is some 45 km in length.

The lake, formed at the same time as a naturally-occuring lava dam trapped water from the Mudan River, is the centerpiece of one of Heilongjiang's most-visited tourist spots. In total, the specially designated Jingbo Lake Scenic Spot covers some 1,726 sq m and offers visitors three distinct attractions.

The lake itself obviously draws a lot of annual visitors, but its adjacent "Volcanic Crater Forest Scenic Spot", set some 50 km north of the lake, is as well hugely popular. Here visitors can explore a series of incomparable underground forests hidden in a series of 10 craters, varying in depth from 40 to 145 m.

The volcanically-formed craters stretch across a 40 km strip and are home to a lot of rare species of plant and animal life, inclunding rare red pine trees and exotic ginseng specimens. Additional familiar species, such as rabbits and squirrels, as well thrive in this remarkable underground refuge.

For visitors with a additional historical schedule in mind, the area's third strength lies in the ruins of the ancient walled city of Huining, the capital city of the Jin Dynasty (1115-1234 AD) and the luck to visit the remains of the Longquan Palace, once the seat of government for the Bohai people during the Tang Dynasty (AD 618-907). The area is presently a designated historical reserve and features a specially set-up museum dedicated to preserving and exhibiting relics and artifacts from its historic completed.

Scientific significance

Inclunding showcasing the area's regal completed, the Jingbo Park area has continued to attract the interest of the international scientific community. Back in 2006, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) dispatched a term of high-profile German geologists to the area to review its application to be considered a world geopark - a status reserved only for those few international sites that can demonstrate both a geological heritage of rare price and a contemporary sustainable development platform. Their verdict, in distinctly unscientific terms, was that they had "at no time seen such a beautiful landscape." The area's application was swiftly fast-tracked and saw the region designated as one of only 18 of the world's UNESCO-designated geoparks.

A lot of of the areas natural features have continued to attract both scientific and tourist interest. Few visitors leave the Jingbo Lake area without initial visiting the majestic Diaoshuilou waterfall, dubbed a "mini-Niagara" by a lot of of its North American visitors.

In the summer, spectators are regularly awed by the rush of the waters over its 40 m wide waterfall and its impressive 25 m-drop. In winter the waterfall has a different appeal - its frozen waters become an immense ice curtain, temporarily suspended until the spring thaw.

Naturally resourced

Inclunding the rushing waters of the Diaoshuilou waterfall, the area is as well rich in other natural phenomena. Its verdant foliage abounds across additional than 90 % of the area's terrain - with rare specimens, such as the seldom-seen Korean Pine and Dahurian Larch, nestling alongside the additional common junipers, China ash trees and Mongolian oaks.

Interspersed part these mighty boughs, curious visitors will as well find fine examples of ginseng, local mushrooms, edible tree fungi and rhizoma gastrodiae, a frequently used herb in traditional Chinese remedies.

Inclunding plant life, the area has proved a natural reserve for animals - with spotted deer, red deer, roe deer, leopards, black bears, lynx, mandarin ducks, heron, and pheasants all thriving within its bounds. It's unpolluted waters as well teem with life with its resident colonies of whitefish and carp still as fine as the days at the same time as they were staple dishes at the tables of the Qing Court (1644-1910).

Visiting time

Jingbo Lake is most popular between June and September each year, at the same time as its cool 20 degree C temperatures provide a welcome respite from the summer heat of much of China. Its close proximity to Suifenhe, a city bordering Russia, Jilin's ever-popular Tianchi resort and, to the West, the provincial capital of Harbin, has seen it attract a growing number of visitors each year.

Its popularity has as well seen it fasten appropriate recognition by a lot of national and international tourism bodies. In 1982 it was part the initial sites to be approved by the National Council as an area of outstanding natural beauty. Twenty years later, in 2003, the National Tourism Government designated it as a Grade AAAA National Tourism Spot. Inclunding its 2006 UNESCO endorsement, it was as well recognized as one of the Top Ten tourist destinations in China by the International Leisure Industry Association, International Eco-Safety Cooperation Organization and China International Famous Brand Association.

It presently regularly attracts additional than 60,000 visitors a year and lists some of China's leading politicians and dignitaries part its admirers, both completed and present - inclunding Liu Shaoqi, Zhu De, Ye Jianying, Dong Biwu, He Long, Deng Xiaoping, Jiang Zemin, Li Peng, Li Ruihuan, Qiao Shi, Li Xiannian and Zhu Rongji.

Its popularity has seen it attract inward investment of additional than 2.5 billion yuan and allowed the area to develop an impressive tourist infrastructure. Some 77 hotels and health-care centers - inclunding 10 with three-stars or above - presently thrive in the area, along with additional than 150 pleasure cruisers and 60 specially-provided tourist excursion buses.

Tourism Statement Q4 2010