Horticultural Expo Animates Xi'an Tourism
CRI, June 8, 2011
One month after the opening of the International Horticultural Expo in China's historical city of Xi'an, representatives of the local tourism sector joined the Xi'an Tourism Administration to look back the effects of this international event on the city's tourism industry.
Zhou Aiquan, director of Xi'an Tourism Administration, said in an exclusive interview with CRI reporters in his office that the administration's tourism efforts have paid off.
Statistics show that domestically one out of four people is aware that the Horticultural Expo is underway in Xi'an, which is a higher number than when the expo was held in China's Kunming and Shenyang cities. Xi'an Xianyang International Airport has seen a 20 percent increase of passenger arrivals during April and May.
The key to tourism nowadays is about attention. The Horticultural Expo has put Xi'an under the spotlight, the director explained.
To take full advantage, Xi'an Tourism Administration, joined by scenic resorts in and around Xi'an, introduced a discount policy for expo ticket holders. Those who bought Horticultural Expo tickets can enjoy thirty to fifty percent off for services and tickets at alliance scenic destinations.
In the international market, Zhou said Xi'an offered beneficial terms to attract tour dealers and independent travelers. The wholesale price for Horticultural Expo tickets targeted at international tour dealers are lowered by thirty percent.
With support from China's National Tourism Administration, the local tourism administration organized reporters from foreign countries, including those of the United States and Japan, to visit and encourage them to cover the event.
International customers at local travel agencies have doubled since the opening of the Horticultural Expo.
Tourism industry is and has always been Xi'an's main driving force in the city's economic growth, Zhou said. Tourism revenue accounts for 8.2 percent of Xi'an's GDP while the average number among Chinese tourism cities is about 4 percent.
The Horticultural Expo was compared to an accelerator to Xi'an's ambition to become a first-class international tourism destination in a report by the People's Daily published shortly after the opening.
Zhou confirmed the positive influences and revealed the event is expected to lift local tourism growth by 20% to 25%.
During the past Dragon Boat Festival Holiday (June 3-6), Xi'an Railway Station dispatched 754,000 passengers, a 10.7% increase over last year's number.
Tram-trains are packed full of visitors at the expo site. Xi'an witnessed an influx of tourists during the Dragon Boat Festival.
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