Excursion or short distance travel a promising market

Updated: 2015-04-21 13:46

By Zhang Yu'an(chinadaily.com.cn)

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Excursion or short distance travel a promising market

A local man rides a raft in the river of Yingde city, South China's Guangdong province. [Photo by Zhang Yu'an]

Guangdong province, an economic powerhouse of China, is also one of the largest tourism markets in the country. Last year, its tourism industry netted 922.7 billion yuan ($149 billion)in total income, registering a year-on-year increase of 12 percent, while there was more than 320 million overnight stays, a rise of 5.9 percent.

At the same time, the tourism industry contributed 6.3 percent to the province’s overall gross domestic product and 5.3 percent to the local coffers.

The province considers tourism one of its strategic pillar industries and plans to give more support to further boost the industry.

Despite the rapid growth, I believe the tourism market in Guangdong still has great development potential and excursions or short distance travel is a very promising market.

Long holidays are limited and paid leave does not cover all working people. Outbound travel or long distance travel are out of reach for many while weekend travel is still underdeveloped.

Under such circumstances, excursions or short distance travel is a good choice for many over two-day weekends. This is viable because a growing number of people have private cars, love nature and enjoy one day or two-day spells in the country life to release work stress.

Also, Guangdong has diversified landscapes, beautiful natural scenery and rich folk customs in the rural areas which are not very far from big cities like Guangzhou and Shenzhen.

Take Guangzhou as an example, if you drive north for one or two hours, you will be immersed in fresh air, beautiful mountains and rivers. Staying in a hill-surrounded village in the mountainous areas is something special and an escape for many from the hustle and bustle of city life. The Yingde Karst Hill Forests in Qingyuan north of Guangzhou, capital city of Guangdong province, are a perfect place for a weekend escape.

The forests are not well developed yet and what you experience is natural scenery. Tourists are few, even during major holidays, and the views astonish. Some compare the beauty of the forests with that of the karst hills in Guilin, the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. When I show pictures of the Yingde Karst Hill Forests to some friends, they are surprised to know that there are such beautiful views near Guangzhou.

The economy nationwide is under pressure to maintain a high growth rate and governments at all levels are taking measures to stimulate the economic growth. I think encouraging excursions or short distance travel can be a good way to help boost the local economy and doing so does not require heavy investment.

What the local governments should do is increase publicity of such places, invest in upgrading roads, encourage villagers or locals to operate more budget hotels or home-stay inns, build clean toilets, erect more road signs and tour site instructions, and offer more weekend-operating shuttle buses.

If this is done, I believe, the numbers of those taking weekend excursions or short distance travel will increase and this can help create more jobs for farmers, help them increase their incomes and contribute to the local economy.