The closing meeting of the second session of the 13th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference is held at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, March 13, 2019. [Photo by Zhu Xingxin/chinadaily.com.cn)
Editor's note: The following are excerpts from proposals put forward by four members of the 13th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, the nation's top political advisory body, at its annual session in Beijing on March 3-13.
Opening up to foreign tourists
Wang Yu, president of Spring Airlines
Last year, the number of overseas trips made by Chinese tourists increased 14.7 percent year-on-year, while the number of inbound trips by tourists from outside the mainland grew by only 1.2 percent, among which more than 78 percent were tourists from Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan. The number of visits by foreign tourists is limited.
Last year, the number of foreign tourists visiting France was nearly three times the number visiting China, and the tourism revenue from foreign tourists visiting the United States was about eight times that of China.
To attract more foreign travelers, China needs to further expand its opening-up. It is suggested that the central government make a national strategy to boost inbound tourism, which would not only deepen foreigners' understanding of China and boost the country's soft power but also reduce China's services trade deficit-80 percent of China's services trade deficit last year, or 237.4 billion yuan ($35.4 billion), stemmed from its tourism deficit.
Only after the initiative is upgraded to a national strategy will it prompt the authorities at various levels to treat it seriously as a job that they are duty-bound to do, by attaining certain objectives before a fixed deadline. Otherwise, the task, which could produce considerable benefits for the economy and cultural exchanges, will continue to be overlooked.
If it is adopted as a national strategy, local governments should pay more attention to improving tourism-related infrastructure facilities and services and do more publicity work for their local culture and tourism resources around the world.
The country can also take advantage of its strengths in big data to promote the development of smart tourism and enhance its tourism management and services, so that tourists can enjoy better travel experiences in China.
An influx of foreign travelers would attract more investment to tourism and related industries, which would help China upgrade the whole industrial chain.
Also, the authorities should improve their supervision and regulation of the market to make sure the rights and interests of foreign visitors are well protected. If well tapped, a boom in foreign visitors would be seen in a short time.