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Xinhong Zhang, Director Of China National Tourist Office In Los Angeles

May 1, 2006
2006 / May 2006

Global Traveler: Tell us about yourself.
Xinhong Zhang: I have been working in the CNTO L.A. office for two years. Prior to Los Angeles, I was in Beijing working for an international corporation in cooperation with the government tourism office and first began my work with the CNTO office in London 10 years ago.

GT: What are the current and up-and-coming business cities in China?
XZ: The established and growing business cities in China can be categorized by the gateways of airlines coming into China. Beijing, followed by Shanghai, rank as the one and two business cities of China, with Guangzhou, formally Canton, coming in third.

Municipalities also fall under the major business cities in China. Municipalities are like provinces, as the city mayor has the equivalent power of a governor in a city such as Shanghai. After Guangzhou, the largest municipality is Chongqing in the southwest followed by the Municipality Tianjin.

Along the China Coast in the east, special economic zones have been created and are resulting in a positive effort to grow current and future business. We can name these cities by going down the coast. Starting in the north we have Dalin, a port city, and Qingdao. Heading toward the south is Ningbo and then Xiamen. Additionally, business activities are moving westward to central parts like Wuhan, Xian and Chengdu in the southwest and Kunming.

To ensure positive economic growth throughout the whole country, the mayors in more than 600 cities are working hard to make their city stand out from the rest. They study expertise from foreign countries and neighboring provinces to promote an economic boom. One example of this growth is that both the central and local governments have created very successful trade fairs. One well-known trade fair is the Canton spring and autumn fair as well as the annual Xiaman trade fair. To complement the trade fairs, private and public companies are creating competition among themselves allowing their industries grow more quickly.

GT: Do you have any numbers that indicate the amount of American business travelers who extend their trips to include leisure travel?
XZ: Our 2005 statistics show that 1.5 million Americans arrived in China. The mix between businesses and leisure is harder to measure, but we have recorded 334,633 business travelers. The trend tends to focus on leisure travel and is complemented by business meetings and incentive. The CNTO will continue to target key areas on the East and West Coasts of the United States. The growing number of visitors to China will also be attributed to second- and third-generation Chinese-Americans traveling back to China to visit friends and relatives.

GT: What is the projection of American travelers to China in the next five years?
XZ: Travel and tourism between China and the Unites States will steadily rise, especially as more airlines increase their gateways to China. There are currently 54 flights a week to China and in 2008 there will be more than 200 flights a week. This is very encouraging, as more key American airlines will generate more tourist and business travel with friends and relatives also going back to China.


FX Excursions

FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.


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