The tourism industry in Guangdong province got a much-needed boost after the mainlanders are allowed to travel to Taiwan and the US, industry experts said.
For many years, the provincial tourism industry ranked first in earning tourism revenue in the country. However, Jiangshu has taken over the leading position since 2006, Yang Rongsen, director of Guangdong tourism administration, said.
Guangdong held the number one position from 1978 to 2005. Its tourism revenue accounted for one-eighth of the nation's total revenue during that period.
In 2005, Guangdong's tourism income was 188.2 billion yuan (US$27.6 billion), while Jiangsu's was only 2.7 billion yuan.
However, Jiangsu's tourism revenue surpassed Guangdong's last year by almost 40 billion yuan.
In Guangdong province, tourism revenue accounts for 80 percent of the total in the Pearl River Delta region.
One of Guangdong's biggest travel agencies, GZL's revenue last year was 1.8 billion yuan, while its profit was only 10 million yuan.
Just when the tourism sector was worrying about the business, the decision to allow the mainlanders to visit Taiwan gave it a much-needed boost.
The industry will flourish again since Taiwan package tour and America package tour have been opened to mainland residents, experts said.
"The Taiwan package tour will bring more than 100 million yuan (US$14.7 million) revenue to Guangzhou's tour services agencies each year, bringing a new opportunity to the province's tourism industry," an expert surnamed Wang told China Daily.
On the other hand, mainland visitors will help create NT$60 billion (US$2.2 billion) in tourism earnings for the island's travel industry, he said.
The tourism authorities of Kaohsiung, the second largest city of Taiwan, sent a delegation to Guangzhou to promote the city's tourism resources earlier this month.
The delegation said Kaohsiung, located in southwestern Taiwan, has abundant tourism resources and the travel cost, including transportation and hotel expenses, is much cheaper than Taipei.
More frequent contact with Taiwan will bring more inbound tourists from the island, experts said.
Since the package tours to Taiwan and the USA are not only open to Guangdong residents, it will offer competition among different provinces , Wang said.
"More promotions for Guangdong's tourism are needed," he said.
Wang hopes the travel industry will be especially promoted at the fourth Guangdong International Tourism and Culture Festival to be held at the end of this year.
Editor: canton fair