China moves up to 17th in global tourism survey
Updated: 2015-05-11 04:04
By ZHENG XIN in New York(China Daily USA)
Chinese mainland's global marketing effort to increase inbound tourism is paying off.
After ramping up the marketing in 2013, the country now ranks 17th in global travel and tourism competitiveness, a great leap from 45th in 2013, according to a 2015 survey by the World Economic Forum.
As for the Asia-Pacific region, Chinese mainland was ranked sixth, following Australia, Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong and New Zealand, according to the survey, which was released on May 6.
"Chinese mainland is very rich in its natural and cultural resources, but many foreign visitors' perception of it as a tourism destination is limited to the Great Wall, Tian'anmen Square and the Temple of Heaven," said Yang Jinsong, a professor at the China Tourism Academy, who focuses on international tourism. "The truth is there is more than the Imperial Palace to explore in the mainland."
Beijing has been ramping up its tourism marketing globally since 2013, including advertisements on CNN, the BBC, the National Geographic Channel and Fox.
Ten cities, including Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Kunming, Chengdu, Chongqing, Shenyang, Dalian, Guilin and Xi'an, also allow transit passengers to visit them without a visa for two to three days. Local authorities have also organized promotions in European and American cities to promote their visa waiver policy to attract more visitors.
The commission said the city is considering a tax refund program, which would allow foreign visitors to claim tax refunds at shopping malls.
As for the Asia-Pacific region, Chinese mainland was ranked sixth, following Australia, Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong and New Zealand.
The World Economic Forum is conducted every two years and measures the competitiveness of 141 countries and economies based on 14 criteria, including business environment, travel and tourism policies, readiness of communication networks, infrastructure quality and natural resources.
Spain was No 1 for the first time. France and Germany were second and third followed by the United States in fourth. The UK, Switzerland, Australia, Italy, Japan and Canada are also among the top 10 destinations.
The report said the competitive gap between these advanced economies and emerging markets is closing.
Despite the progress in global competitiveness, Yang said the mainland's pollution, traffic congestion and tourism infrastructure are still undermining its competitiveness.
"The pollution is the major culprit in preventing many overseas visitors from coming to Beijing," said Yang. "The consistent and notorious smog is not an invitation but a warning against visiting and no one wants to spend their vacation choking in hazy smog."
Compared with other world-class tourist destination cities, Beijing has a lot of work to do to fully tap the potential of its tourism resources, he said.