Hit by a stock market slump, static property sales and wavering global demand for its products, China may have come up with a magic bullet to save the economy – tourism.The Chinese economy, the world’s second-largest, is forecast to grow 7% this year. Pretty much any other government in the world would give anything for a number like that, but China has been on such a boom that 7% growth represents its worst result in 25 years.
China has devalued its currency, the yuan, twice in the past two days. Now, in a bid to stimulate spending, the country is beefing up support for tourism, creating investment funds and building tourist attractions. According to Airwise.com, these attractions range from campgrounds to theme parks.
Even better, they include cruise ports, which could give scope to tourists visiting from overseas countries including Australia. Ten new ports for cruise ships will be constructed by 2020 and state companies will be encouraged to build holiday boats to spur growth, the State Council, China’s cabinet, said in an online statement.
The main market for all this is domestic – namely China’s growing middle class. The government aims to double leisure spending from the 2013 figure to reach CNY 5.5 trillion (AUD 12.2 billion) by 2020.
From Australia, few tourists are likely to head to China to drive between campgrounds in recreational vehicles. Elderly Chinese are the main target market for that aspect of the tourism program.
But clean toilets and free Wi-Fi can’t be bad. A staggering 57,000 toilet facilities for tourists will be built or renovated over the next three years and Wi-Fi will be installed at 10,000 destinations to give visitors internet access – free. Some 1000 campgrounds for recreational vehicles will be developed by 2020 as well.
China takes tourism and tourism administration very seriously. The country’s former deputy director of tourism, Huo Ke, was expelled from the ruling Communist Party earlier this week after being accused of corruption and leaking party and state secrets, state-run news agency Xinhua reported.
Written by Peter Needham