BEIJING Dec 27 China said it will boost
investment in tourism, with plans to develop rustbelt regions
and upgrade public toilets high on its to-do list as it looks to
lift the sector's contribution to economic growth.
Announcing a new plan for the sector, China said it aims to
invest 2 trillion yuan ($290 billion) in tourism between 2016
and 2020 which would translate to annual growth of more than 14
percent in direct investment in the industry.
Old industrial and resource-dependent cities, particularly
in the north of the country, will be encouraged to develop
tourism and the government has promised to set up "demonstration
tourist bases" in those areas. Several depleted coal cities have
already made efforts to turn defunct mines into parks.
The plan also promised a "toilet revolution", prompted by
wide-spread complaints about toilet hygiene levels at China's
tourist spots and said the country would aim to build or
renovate as many as 100,000 public toilets over the period.
The investment will help China's emerging tourism industry
account for 12 percent of annual economic growth by 2020, up
from 10.8 percent last year, the country's cabinet said.
The total sum of tourism services purchased by the country
is set to reach 7 trillion yuan ($1 trillion) by 2020,
equivalent to more than an 11 percent increase in tourism
revenue per year, the State Council said.
The government predicted domestic travellers would take 6.4
billion trips annually by 2020, up from 4 billion in 2015, while
the number of trips to China by overseas travellers is set to
rise to 150 million, from 134 million last year.
China's state planner said this month that tourism
investment targets will be met by attracting more private
investment into the industry.
China has been keen to develop and expand services
industries to offset the impact of persistently weak global
demand for its exports.
(Reporting by Yawen Chen and David Stanway; Editing by Edwina