Economic Watch: How tourism is becoming a new driving force in China's growth

Source: Xinhua| 2018-03-05 16:44:05|Editor: Lifang
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BEIJING, March 5 (Xinhua) -- China's tourism is showing strong growth and emerging as a new driving force for the world's second largest economy.

China's domestic tourism industry earned 4.57 trillion yuan (720 billion U.S. dollars) with 5 billion domestic trips made in 2017, up 15.9 percent and 12.8 percent, respectively, data from China National Tourism Administration (CNTA) showed.

The industry contributed 9.13 trillion yuan to China's GDP, accounting for 11 percent of economic output, according to preliminary statistics.

As the world's largest source of outbound tourists, China saw 130.5 million overseas trips made in 2017, an increase of 7 percent from the previous year.

The new consumption caught the eye of global investors, as more than 1,000 exhibitors from over 50 countries attended the three-day Guangzhou International Travel Fair last week.

Rural tourism has been stressed as a crucial part of China's strategies of rural vitalization and coordinated regional development in the first policy statement of the year released by the central authorities.

The sector is helping eliminate poverty and increase people's wealth, as official data showed that 2.5 billion trips were made in rural China in 2017, and its tourism consumption topped 1.4 trillion yuan.

In an effort to support tourism programs in poverty-stricken areas, the Agricultural Development Bank of China is to support infrastructure construction and village-included programs in 500 scenic spots from 2016 to 2020.

Meanwhile, China CITIC Bank will make no less than 200 billion yuan of tourism investment, targeting rural tourism demonstration programs aimed at poverty reduction.

While promoting agricultural transformation and upgrade, China's tourism industry is playing an important role in the country's supply-side structural reform, with "all-for-one" tourism a booster.

The concept of all-for-one tourism, highlighting the integration of tourism resources with other industries, was included in the government work report in 2017, to cater to the country's growing demand for tourism products and services and to facilitate economic transition.

Via tourism construction throughout the region, all-for-one tourism aims to promote and lead the socioeconomic development with its upgraded tourism industry.

Analysts have attributed the consecutive inclusions of tourism in China's annual first policy statements to the key role tourism plays in balancing urban-rural development, optimizing rural economic structure, and raising farmers' incomes.

Over the last two years, China's tourism industry has shined as a new driver for development and upgrades through integration with agricultural, industrial and commercial sectors, among other traditional industries.

"China will pursue high-quality development in its rural tourism, to further implement the rural vitalization strategy and poverty elimination target," said CNTA head, Li Jinzao.

China has set the target of earning 5.98 trillion yuan in its tourism industry in 2018, an increase of 13 percent over that in 2017.