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China attracts more visitors

More than 42.8 million people travelled to China from overseas in the last six months, up 6.87 per cent from the numbers for the same period last year, according to statistics released by the National Tourism Administration.

At the same time, foreign exchange income from tourism reached US$8.5 billion, an increase of 10.68 per cent over the previous year's figure for the same period, the administration announced.

The number of tourists coming from the Macao Special Administrative Region saw an increase of 34.2 per cent over the numbers for the same period of the previous year, the highest among all countries and regions where overseas tourists come from.

Many of the Macao residents came through the Gongbei Customs in Zhuhai to go shopping and have dinner in this economic zone in South China's Guangdong Province.

This so-called one-day tourism brought in US$700 million in tourist incomes, accounting for 8.28 per cent of the total figure.

As for Taiwan Province, an increase of 15.9 per cent over the same period for the previous year was also reported, the total number of tourists reaching 1.7 million.

In the first six months of this year, the number of tourists from Thailand and South Korea, two of China's top 15 tourist source countries, increased by 28.8 per cent and 19 per cent respectively over the figures for the same period a year earlier.

It is reported that overseas travellers' main reasons for coming to China are sightseeing, holidaying and business conferences.

From September 1, the safety of overseas tourists who arrange their travel through China's domestic travel agencies will be more securely guaranteed as they will be insured for at least 160,000 yuan (US$19,300) per person by their agencies.

It is predicted that the tourism industry in China, especially in Beijing, will be further enhanced as a result of China's winning the right to host the 2008 Olympics.

-- source: China Daily

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