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China Travel News and Events (Mar. 17th, 2000)

Beijing Tourism Group Reorganized

The Beijing Tourism Group has reorganized its subordinate travel agencies to form the BTG International Travel & Tour Group. The newly formed group will adopt more advanced management methods to increase its competitive capacity.

The BTG International Travel & Tour Group is funded by the Beijing Tourism Group, the Beijing Kingdom International Hotel Group and the Capital Automobile Group. It is composed of the China International Travel Service Beijing, the Beijing China Travel Service, the Beijing Overseas Tourism Corporation, the Beijing Travel Service, the BTG International Travel Service and the Beijing New Ark International Travel Service.

The newly formed BTG Group has total assets of 300 million yuan, and a solid contingent of tour guides, sales staff and managerial personnel. It has broad customer resources in North America, Europe, Asia, Australia, Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan, as well as stable sales networks.

The new group's branch companies are the In-Bound Tour Company, the Out-Bound Tour Company, the FIT Tour Company, the Retail Company and the Transportation Company. Its subsidiaries include China International Travel Service Beijing Overseas Tourism Co. Ltd, BTGITT Ticketing Agency, Beijing Zheng Yang Cultural Development Co. and Beijing Global Advertising Company.

The development target of BTG Group is to establish a stable travel service sales system, to attract more customers, so that it can play a leading role in the Beijing tourism market in the first three years, then enlarge its influence in the country to become a comprehensive tourism company in the next two years, and finally develop into a transnational company.

Construction to Start on China National Theater

Construction of the China National Theater will start on April 1 year on both sides of the Great Hall of the People. The work is expected to be completed within three years.

The China National Theater is a key cultural project which requires 3.54 billion yuan in investment, and which will cover 120,000 square meters land. It will include an opera theater, a concert hall, a folk opera theater and a small theater with a total of over 6,000 seats.

The opera theater will have 2,500 seats. The concern hall, with 2,000 seats, will be used for folk music and symphony concerts. Other facilities in the theater will include the Art Corridor, the Performance Art Research Department, the Art Store and an underground parking lot.

Museum Ticket Card

A Beijing Museum Ticket Card has been issued. With the ticket, visitors can go to any of the 56 museums in Beijing. The card is issued by the capital's 56 museums and district post offices. The 2000 Beijing Museum Ticket Card set includes six cards, all with dragon designs: the Jade Double Dragon of a Warring States kingdom in the Sackler Archaeology and Art Museum at Beijing University, the gilded jade dragon pillow of the Western Han Dynasty, the Nine-Dragon Caisson Ceiling of the Ming Dynasty in the Biking Wenbo Exchange Museum, the Dragon Stamp of the Qing Dynasty in the Postal Museum, the Two Dragons Playing with a Pearl stone carving of the Qiang Dynasty in the Store-Carving Art Museum and the Qing Dynasty dragon coin in the Ancient Coin Museum.

Ten thousand sets of the cards will be issued this year, each priced at 60 yuan. Each card allows visitors to go to each of the 56 museums three times or three visitors at one time. The card owner can also enjoy a free soft drink at McDonald's in Xidan, a five percent discount in the Capital Bookstore Building, a 15 percent discount at the Fragrant Hills Skiing Center.

Shaanxi's Tourism Sets 2000 Targets

The Shaanxi Province tourism department plans to play host to 700,000 overseas tourists this year, an increase of 11.1 percent over 1999, and to earn US $280 million, an increase of 10.3 percent over 1999.

Shaanxi has begun to develop the Han Dynasty Culture Tourism Area at the Hanyang Mausoleum, 10 km south of Xi'an. The Yang Tomb Archaeological Display Hall was opened to the public in late September 1999.

This year, Shaanxi will stage several large-scale festive activities. In early April tourism trade fairs and theme exhibitions will be held alongside economic and trade activities. An International Invitational Rock Climbing Tournament will be held at Mount Huashan in the first half of the year. In the autumn will be the Annual International Chang'an Calligraphy Meeting. Other events will be the Ancient City Wall International Invitation Marathon in Xi'an and the International Old Silk Road Tourism Gala in October 2000.

Large Ski Resort in Southern China

The Xiling Ski Resort, the largest in southern China, has been opened near Chengdu, capital of Sichuan Province.

The resort is located in the Xiling Snow-Capped Mountains Scenic Area, which covers a total area of 482 sq km. The main peak, Daxuetang, is 5,364 meters above sea level and is snow-capped all the year round. The resort cost Chengdu and Dada County more than 100 million yuan to build. It has seven standard ski courses and can accommodate 1,500 skiers at a time.

Yarlung Zangbo Canyon Nature

The Yanglung Zangbo Canyon in the Tibet Autonomous Region will soon be made into a national nature reserve.

The reserve in the southeastern part of the autonomous region covers a total area of 9,600 square kilometers and has 14,900 inhabitants. Extensive scientific research has identified the canyon as the largest in the world. Rich in plant and animal resource, the canyon has also been called a "Geological Museum."

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