A Russian tourist receives cupping treatment at a sanatorium in Sanya, south China's Hainan Province, June 2, 2018. (Xinhua/Guo Cheng)
Experts attending a tourism forum in Beijing said health tourism featuring the traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is in a golden era for development.
"Cross-border health tourism is in fashion now," said Li Jiangbin, an official with the State Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine, at the International Health Tourism Forum held on Wednesday.
At the forum, the World Federation of Chinese Medicine Societies announced the establishment of a special committee to promote TCM health tourism worldwide.
TCM health tourism provides tourists with an array of options, allowing them to experience traditional Chinese methods of healthcare such as acupuncture and cupping therapy, and learn about related theories and traditional culture.
With 138 million inbound trips in 2016, China is among the most popular destinations for international travelers, making it possible for TCM health tourism to develop.
Health tourism is a useful channel to introduce TCM to the world and enable people in more countries to benefit from it, Li said.
According to a 2016 document released by China's Ministry of Culture and Tourism and the State Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine, the country plans to set up 10 demonstration zones and 100 demonstration bases of TCM health tourism within three years.
Provincial-level regions including Beijing and Hainan have pioneered TCM tourism by pushing forward tourism projects and devising tourism routes since as early as 2011.
With more favorable policies and an expanding market, TCM health tourism is at a perfect time for development, said Gu Xiaohong, secretary of the Party committee of Beijing University of Chinese Medicine.