Updated: 2012-09-28 08:08
The upcoming eight-day Golden Week holiday presents a good opportunity to shape the tourist industry and related services so that the ambitious goal of building China into a world tourism giant by 2020 can be realized.
Compared with 10 years ago, China's tourist industry has already made notable progress. For instance, the number of domestic tours has tripled and the number of overseas-bound tourists has increased more than fourfold.
Over the last decade, China has been growing from a big country with abundant tourist resources into a big tourism power. With the added value of the whole industry now accounting for more than 4 percent of the country's GDP, the tourist sector has become a pillar of the national economy, driving the service sector and boosting domestic demand.
Admittedly, the importance attached to the tourist industry by the government has played an indispensable role in cultivating the industry into a new engine for growth. But there is still room for improvement before all the administrative measures are implemented to the letter and all the promised services are delivered to the public.
In fact, a public holiday, such as the Chinese New Year period in January or February, can severely test some government organs. Although the Ministry of Railways has tried to improve its ticket booking systems, getting a train ticket can still prove a task that would challenge Hercules. And illicit fee levying, over-crowdedness and low-quality services still plague some famous tourist sites. All these have made traveling and sightseeing a daunting task for many holidaymakers.
Prior to this year's longest-ever holiday, the government introduced some initiatives aimed at facilitating travel and improving people's holiday experience. But even before the holiday begins, people have expressed concerns about some of the measures.
Both the government and the entire industry must make further efforts to ensure that the country provides the services that tourists from all over the world expect.
(China Daily 09/28/2012 page8)