Tourist board touts Yangtze cruise

Updated: 2013-06-21 11:36

By Hu Haidan in New York (China Daily)

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In 2012, China welcomed 2,118,100 travelers from the US, the fourth-largest international group behind Koreans, Japanese and Russians, according to China National Tourist Administration data.

And when most North American travelers visit China, they go to the Great Wall, the terracotta warriors and big cities like Beijing and Shanghai. But, according to CNTA official Zhu Mengming, too few people know about another one of China's great treasures awaiting travelers - the Yangtze River.

To get the word out, the CNTA hosted an event - "Explore the Magical Yangtze River" - in New York City.

The Yangtze, the world's third-longest river, runs west to east through southern China. "She passes by mountains, gorges, hills, plains, with changing scenes and different geographic shapes," Zhu said. "Take a luxury cruise on the Yangtze and you'll feel her magic, the ever changing scenery, including ancient corridors painted with historic legends, create a marvelous experience."

The Yangtze River originates in the mountains of Tibet, the world's highest plateau, and flows almost 4,000 miles through the regions of Qinghai, Sichuan, Chongqing, Hubei, Hunan, Yunnan, Jiangxi, Anhui, and Jiangsu before emptying into the East China Sea at Shanghai. The mighty river's catchment embraces one-fifth of China's land area and accounts for 40 percent of its freshwater resources.

Simone Olivier, head of the New York chapter of the Pacific Asia Travel Association, said she has traveled to China 33 times since 1979 and was impressed on every trip.

Olivier said she took the cruise down the Yangtze River on her latest visit, which was last year. She said the experience was wonderful and she hoped her company could arrange the cruise this coming September.

Liu Fuqiang, an official from Chongqing Tourism Bureau, said they are all set up to welcome foreign travelers. "We have well-trained staff to provide service in English around the clock," said Liu. "We also offer airport pick-up and drop-off and many other special services for foreign visitors."

Liu said they hoped US-China tourism experts are aware that the cruise down the Yangtze is a worthy and fascinating thing for American travelers to do. "We are looking forward to more and more foreign tourists traveling to our beautiful city by taking the cruise from Chongqing," said Liu, adding, "eventually, we hope that travelers come to Chongqing not just for the cruise."

Mark Grundy, president of Wendy Wu Tours USA, said Americans tend to think that one trip to China is enough. But once they actually go there, most of his clients say they want to visit China again and experience more.

"There are many high-end US travelers in the travel market," Grundy said. "They will enjoy this new and luxurious tour."

Zhu also said that CNTA has unveiled a new logo called "Beautiful China" to promote Chinese tourism and has distributed the logo through many international media outlets around the world since the beginning of the year. "Explore the Magical Yangtze River", he said, was an important part of the "Beautiful China" campaign.

(China Daily USA 06/21/2013 page10)