Caracas seeks to lure more Chinese tourists

Updated: 2014-07-21 07:22

By Su Zhou and Zheng Jinran (China Daily USA)

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Wang Rui knew Venezuela and its famous landmark, Angel Falls, from the hit animated movie Up.

The world's highest waterfall inspired the setting of the film, and she was so impressed that she decided to visit Venezuela.

It was a tough trip but she says it was worthwhile.

"That Venezuela trip was one of my projects to travel to beautiful scenic spots from movies," said Wang, 27, from Nanjing, Jiangsu province.

"I did not expect the trip to be fun due to the long flight and the language barrier, but it was great."

She said Venezuela was a refreshing change from several overly commercial scenic spots she had visited previously.

"It presented a natural beauty to me, and the cities were not packed with tourists busy with taking photos."

To attract more visitors who appreciate the beauty of Venezuela, Caracas is seeking to promote tourism by establishing a website in Chinese.

The site was launched on June 20 by Venezolana de Turismo, the main Venezuelan tour operator. Tourists can find information about hotels, transport and trips to attractions.

Venezuela is also seeking cooperation from Chinese tourism agencies. Its tourism authority has already launched a Chinese website.

The number of Chinese tourists visiting the country has risen sharply since it was granted approved destination status by Beijing in 2006.

About 12,000 Chinese people went there in 2011-12, an increase of 108 percent year-on-year, according to TTG China, a tourism newspaper based in Singapore.

The number of tourists traveling from China increased 17.8 percent to 98 million in 2013, according to the National Tourism Administration, making it the world's largest country of departure for tourists.

Dou Qun, a tourism industry professor at Beijing Union University, said the majority of Chinese tourists went to traditional destinations such as the United States and countries in Europe and Asia. However more experienced and wealthy tourists want to explore other countries such as Venezuela.

"Unlike regular tourists, experienced tourists like to go on adventures," said Dou. "Venezuela has untapped natural resources for adventurers.

"Venezuela can enhance cooperation with neighboring countries, such as extending flights from their cities to Venezuela, thus bringing in more tourists," he said.

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(China Daily USA 07/21/2014 page3)