BEIJING- Despite the increasing number of tourists from abroad that Beijing received in the first half of the year, the growth is slowing down. The capital welcomed more than 2.5 million tourists from overseas - including Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan - in the first half of the year, an increase of 4.2% year-on-year.
However, the growth has slowed since the second quarter of the year and is expected to continue slowing down, according to the Beijing Tourism Development Committee."The capital will come up with more measures and policies to attract inbound tourists," Lu Yong, director of the committee, said at a meeting in Beijing on Friday. Places of historical interest and scenic beauty have long been attractive for overseas tourists, according to the committee.
Most of the inbound tourists are from Asia, including Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan. Asian tourists make up 48.5% of all the people, a 1.9% year-on-year increase. Next are European tourists, accounting for 25.1% with a year-on-year increase of 8.4%, and American tourists, who account for 20.5% of the total, according to the committee.
However, even though inbound tourism has seen a year-on-year growth of 9.1% in the first quarter, the growth for the second quarter slowed to 1%, partly due to the slow recovery of the global economy and the budget deficit, debt and unemployment problems that are hitting many developed countries, the committee said in a report on Friday.
The committee said that the deceleration of inbound tourism might continue until the second half of the year. To further boost the capital's inbound tourism, the city is likely to introduce a 72-hour window to explore the city without a visa, and other policies, according to the committee.
A coordination group has been set up to facilitate the implementation of the policy, said the committee. "The policy, once implemented, is expected to attract more tourists from abroad," said Lin Song, an officer at the public security bureau's exit-entry administration. However, details of the upcoming policy were not yet revealed.
The committee will also carry out more market promotion abroad to attract inbound tourists and make the capital known worldwide, especially in the emerging markets of Africa and the Middle East.
In 2011, the Chinese capital's tourism sector received a record 200 million domestic travellers and reached five million visitors from overseas for the first time in its history, an annual increase of 6 %, much higher than the average increase rate of 1% for the whole country. Tourism revenue topped US$ 47.6 billion, up 16% year-on-year, it said.