CHENGDU, Sept. 17 (Xinhua) -- Tourism in southwest China's Sichuan Province, home to most of the country's wild pandas, has developed rapidly in recent years thanks to its rich cultural and natural resources and promotion.
The fourth Sichuan International Travel Expo, which opened Sunday in Emeishan City, will witness the signing of 28 contracts valued at 68.5 billion yuan (10.5 billion U.S. dollars), said Fu Yonglin, director of the Sichuan Tourism Development Committee.
Featuring opening-up and green development driven by tourism, the weeklong expo has attracted more than 2,000 guests from 74 countries and regions, including the United States, Australia, Russia and Germany.
Last year, Sichuan hosted 630 million domestic tourist arrivals and 3 million overseas visitors. Tourism accounts for 8.4 percent of the province's economy.
In the first half of this year, Sichuan tourism revenue grew 19.3 percent year-on-year to reach 45.8 billion yuan.
"We strive to develop tourism into an industry of more than 100 billion yuan," said Peng Lin, Party chief of Leshan City, home to Mount Emei and Leshan Giant Buddha on UNESCO's heritage list.
During the expo, seminars will be held to discuss sustainable tourism development.