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Guangdong's Vibrant Tourist Trade

BEIJING, Augsut 20 --Guangdong is contiguous to Hong Kong and Macao, and neighbors Southeast Asia. Its advantageous geographical location makes it the window through which China and the rest of the world communicates, according to China Today.

For thousands of years, the people of Guangdong have made huge contributions to Chinese civilization. In the 19th century, due to its specific geographical and cultural environment, Guangdong became birthplace of the modernization movement initiated by Chinese bourgeois reformists, and was later the cradle for modern Chinese revolution. Many great people whose influence imposed far-reaching effects on Chinese modern history, such as Sun Yet-sen, Mao Zedong, Zhou Enlai, and Liao Zhongkai, were once active in Guangdong leaving behind many sites of historic and revolutionary significance. In the 1980s, when China entered a new era, it was Guangdong, the pioneer province, that put into practice the reform and opening policy, and once again stunned the world with its great achievements in economic development.

For years, its volume of inbound tourists, total tourism income, and foreign currency earned through tourism has earned Guangdong a national first place. Today, Guangdong has a comprehensive capability of receiving more than 50 million overseas tourists and nearly 100 million domestic tourists, creating over US $3 billion in foreign exchange, and a total tourism income of above 100 billion yuan annually. During the National Day holiday in 2000, Guangdong received 8.3 million tourists 18.57 percent higher than the Labor Day holiday figure, and realized a tourism income of 4.25 billion yuan 41.67 percent higher than that achieved during the Labor Day period.

Making full use of its favorable geographical location, travel agencies in Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao have now jointly promoted a hot tourist package the Zhujiang River Delta tour, available at 130 travel agencies in more than 20 countries. Along this tour route is Hong Kong, international metropolis and shopper's paradise : Macao, where Eastern and Western cultures converge, and also a city whose casinos make for a particularly exciting nightlife: and Guangzhou, the starting point of the ocean Silk Road, and storehouse of historical and cultural relics.

Guangdong is located along the subtropical belt, giving it a pleasant climate, suitable for tourism all year round. Guangdong has something for everyone who passes through its borders. Those seeking places of historic interest may visit the relics of "Mapa man" and the ancient Nanyue kingdom. The six cities of Guangzhou, Foshan, Chaozhou, Meizhou, Zhaoqing, and Leizhou are also famous for their cultural and historic sites.

Guangdong has numerous beautiful natural scenic spots, most specifically Mt. Danxia, Qixing Rock in Zhaoqing City, unique vistas of karst topography, and glorious coastal beach scenery.

Guangdong is an ideal place for spending a holiday. There are more than 70 golf courses and theme parks: thousands of kilometers of coast line, and plentiful well-equipped seaside holiday resorts. There are also more than 30 hot spring resorts, perfect destinations for winter holidays.

In recent years, Guangdong has constructed a number of new scenic spots in contemporary style, such as Miniature China, the Chinese Folk Culture Village, the New Yuanming Garden, the Xiangjiang River Wild Animal World, the Changlong Wild Nocturnal Animal World, Baomo Garden, the Huang Feihong Lion Dance Art Gallery, the Green World, and the Yannanfei Tea Garden. These places combine pleasure with knowledge acquisition, and consequently attract countless visitors.

Cities within the Zhujiang River Delta as represented by Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Zhuhai, Zhongshan, and Dongguan, all have a developed commerce and cultural life. Every year numerous art, cultural, and food festivals, and international expositions are held in these cities.

To tourists wondering about the Guangdong life style, the best way to find out is to walk through Guangzhou's pedestrian only business precincts, or the jade markets of Xiguan: to enjoy authentic Guangdong dishes at restaurants, or taste the local delicacies sold on the street. They might also sample the rustic life by spending a few days at one of Guangdong's small villages or townships. Many local festivals, such as the New Year's eve flower fair, lion dance performances, the dragon boat race, and the mid-summer litchi festival, display vividly the essence of Guangdong life.

To make visits to Guangdong via Hong Kong and Macao more convenient for foreigners, in 2000 the Chinese State Council extended the 72 hour transit visa procedure, implemented in 1996, to 144 hours for foreign tourist groups organized in Hong Kong and Macao, and visiting Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Zhuhai, Zhongshan, Dongguan, Foshan, Jiangmen, Zhaoqing, and Shunde in the Zhujiang River Delta, as well as Shantou City. With its developed communications networks and an ideal environment for travel, Guangdong is doing its best to offer Chinese and overseas tourists the most pleasant, stimulating, and enjoyable holiday possible.

-- source: Xinhua News Agency

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