December 2012 E-Newsletter

News from China National Tourist Office

Holiday Greetings from CNTO

On behalf of the China National Tourist Office in New York, I want to send all of our best wishes to you and your families through this holiday season. As always, I hope that you enjoy this issue and we welcome your feedback and continued cooperation in the weeks and months ahead.

China National Tourist Office, New York
370 Lexington Ave. #912
New York, NY 10017

Director Yaping Xue



CNTO Study on Tourism to China

China Travel News

Upcoming Events

Airline Partner News

New Tourism Developments

Culture Corner

Tibet Receives Record Number of Tourists

TibetThe total number of tourists visiting Tibet in 2012 (through November 30, 2012) has surpassed 10 million for the first time ever (up 22.6% from last year). This influx of tourists is being attributed to nationwide promotion efforts, improved transportation access and an increasing number of individual trips. Nearly 300,000 people are employed in the region’s tourism sector; it is anticipated that Tibet could receive 15 million tourists annually by 2015.

CNTO Study on Tourism to China

As noted in previous newsletters, the China National Tourist Office (CNTO), through PhoCusWright, fielded a survey of more than 30,000 individuals, targeting U.S. adults who have traveled to Asia in the past two years or who are likely to travel again in the next two years. As promised, we will continue to share the results of this survey over the course of the next year. This month we focus on leisure travelers’ favorite attractions in China.

China Tourism Statistics

Interpretation: The Great Wall, The Forbidden City, The Terra Cotta Warriors, Dining/cuisine, and Natural landmarks/landscapes are the top five most popular attractions or cultural features among leisure travelers to China.

China Travel News

72 Hour Visit72-Hour Visa-Free Stay in Beijing and Shanghai for American Travelers
Both Beijing and Shanghai have announced that, effective January 1, 2013, transit passengers from the U.S. and Canada will be permitted to stay in these cities for 72 hours without a visa. In Shanghai, transit passengers holding third country visas and plane tickets can enter Shanghai through the city’s two airports, Hongqiao (SHA) and Pudong (PVG); in Beijing, transit passengers can enter only through Beijing Capital International Airport (PEK).

Tourism in China Contributes More to GDP Than Automotive Manufacturing
According to new research undertaken by the WTTC (World Travel and Tourism Council) and conducted by Oxford Economics, China’s travel and tourism industry is substantially larger and contributes 13% more to the GDP than its automotive manufacturing. In addition, the travel and tourism industry in China supports over 62 million direct and indirect jobs (compared to the 48.5 million jobs in the financial services sector). It is predicted that China’s travel and tourism contribution to GDP will grow by more than 9% over the next ten years, a faster growth rate than the overall economy (7.6%).

China High-Speed RailwayChina to Open World’s Longest High-Speed Railway
December 26 is the birthday of late Chairman Mao Zedong; it also marks the opening of the world’s longest (2,298 km or 1,428 miles) high-speed railway, linking the cities of Beijing and Guangzhou. Traveling at an average speed of 300 km per hour (or 186 miles per hour), the railway will cut travel time between the country’s capital and the southern economic center to about eight hours.


Upcoming Events in China

MarathonThe 29th Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival
The Harbin Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival will open to visitors for informal viewings after Christmas, then will officially begin January 5, 2013 and go through the end of February. The Snow Sculpture Art Expo is world-famous, where all kinds of snow sculptures by artists from all over the world are on display. For more information, please visit

SolsticeChinese New Year 2013 (February 9 through 24)
The most important Chinese holiday is the Chinese New Year, which is known in China as Spring Festival. The festival ushers in the lunar New Year and is the equivalent of the western hemisphere’s Christmas and New Year’s Eve rolled into one. From sun up to sun down, this is a time when the whole country throws itself into celebrating and eating. According to the Chinese Zodiac, 2013 is the Year of the Snake, and “all things are possible” in the coming year.

Airline Partner News

Shenzhen AirlinesShenzhen Airlines Joins Star Alliance
At the end of November, Shenzhen Airlines, China’s fifth largest carrier, joined the Star Alliance. This is a major benefit for Star Alliance customers, who will gain improved access throughout the economically important Pearl River Delta and across southern China. Shenzhen adds some 400 daily flights serving 70 destinations to the Star Alliance network. Among these are five new destinations in China: Juzhou (Zhejiang Province), Linyi, Qinhuangdao, Shijiazhuang, and Zhoushan. For more information, please visit:

Xiamen AirlinesXiamen Airlines Joins SkyTeam
In November, Xiamen Airlines joined the SkyTeam Alliance. Based in Xiamen, a coastal city in East China’s Fujian province, Xiamen Airlines operates a network of domestic and regional services throughout China and Asia, predominantly from the hub airports of Xiamen, Fuzhou and Hangzhou. Fujian is one of the more prosperous provinces in China and tourism is one of the highlights in the region’s economy. Xiamen Airlines’ goal is to boost its international traffic by expanding the network to serve major long-haul destinations in Australia, Europe and North America, starting in 2014. For more information, please visit:

China SouthernChina Southern Buys 10 Airbus A330-300 Aircraft to Boost Capacity
China Southern Airlines Co. recently ordered 10 aircraft from Airbus, as it seeks to expand capacity and improve efficiency. The new planes will be delivered between 2014 and 2016, and will increase China Southern’s capacity by 5.7%. For more information, please visit:

China EasternChina Eastern Orders 60 A320s to Expand the Airline’s Domestic Services
China Eastern Airlines has ordered 60 Airbus A320s, to be delivered between 2014 and 2017, which will be used to expand the airline’s domestic services. In addition, the carrier also announced it plans to open new routes from Shanghai to Amsterdam and San Francisco by 2015. For more information, please visit:

New Tourism Developments

Ice and Snow Theme ParkIce and Snow Theme Park to Open in Heilongjiang
The Harbin Ice and Snow World Theme Park in northeast China’s Heilongjiang Province is scheduled to open to the public on December 24th. A 48-meter (157-foot) high ice palace will become the landmark artwork of the park. The 600,000 square meter (148-acre) theme park will host the 29th Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival beginning January 5, 2013 (see the “Upcoming Events and Festivals in China” section at the beginning of this newsletter).

The Ritz CarltonRitz-Carlton to Open Hotel in Chengdu
The Ritz-Carlton is expanding its presence in China with a new hotel located in the heart of Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province. The Ritz-Carlton, Chengdu will become the luxury hotel operator’s first flag in Southwest China, when it opens in summer 2013. The Ritz-Carlton, Chengdu in Tianfu Square will have 353 rooms, including 55 suites. The property will feature three restaurants including an elegant Cantonese restaurant with eight private dining rooms.

Grand CanalChina Grand Canal Seeks World Heritage Status
The Grand Canal, the longest artificial waterway in the world, will bid for UNESCO World Heritage status in 2014. The 2,400-year-old Grand Canal, or the Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal, with a length of 1,794 kilometers (1,115 miles), runs through eight provinces and municipalities and 35 cities, and was once a major waterway linking Beijing and resource-rich Hangzhou, capital of east China’s Zhejiang Province. In order to qualify for the list, conditions at every relic site must be in order before UN experts inspect and assess the cultural heritage sites along the waterway in June 2013.

Shangri-LaShangri-La Opens 35th Hotel in China
Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts marks the opening of its 35th hotel in China with the debut of the Shangri-La Hotel, Yangzhou in Jiangsu Province. Long renowned for its beauty, history and culture, the 2,500-year-old city of Yangzhou is the newest destination in the luxury hotel group’s global collection, and Shangri-La Hotel, Yangzhou is the city’s first international five-star hotel. The 369-room hotel overlooks the Mingyue Lake and sits amidst its own classic Chinese garden with poetic pavilions, pagodas and koi ponds.

Culture Corner

TibetThe Potala Palace is located on the Red Hill in Lhasa, Tibet Autonomous Region of China. It is the highest ancient palace in the world, reaching 3,767 meters (12,360 feet) at its highest point. It symbolizes Tibetan Buddhism and its central role in the traditional administration of Tibet.

The stone-and-wood-structured complex consists of the White Palace and Red Palace with their ancillary halls, temples and courtyards. The palace also collected and is exhibiting a large number of sculptures, scriptures and other valuable cultural relics. The beauty and harmonious integration in a striking landscape add to its historic and religious significance.


Copyright 2012 China National Tourist Office