Travel fair opens in Chengdu
Updated: 2013-09-16 20:07
By Li Yu and Peng Chao in Chengdu (chinadaily.com.cn)
Chengdu initiates the Fly Chengdu Marketing Alliance on Sept 15, 2013.
The 2013 PATA Travel Mart officially opened on Sept 16 in Chengdu, capital of Southwest China's Sichuan province.
The travel mart is a top trade fair in the Asia Pacific region, bringing together a large number of international sellers and buyers and providing a platform to showcase travel products and services around the Asia Pacific region.
Chengdu is the third city in China to host the event, after Beijing and Hangzhou.
As a key element of the event, the Fly Chengdu Marketing Alliance was set up on Sunday night. It aims to boost cooperation among Chengdu's direct-fly cities in sectors such as international travel, city brand promotion and cultural exchanges.
The alliance was co-initiated by the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA), the Chengdu Tourism Administration, the Chengdu Culture & Tourism Development Group and the Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport.
Ying Jianhua, chief executive of the Chengdu Culture & Tourism Development Group, said the alliance will not only provide Chengdu with a professional platform to enhance international marketing and spur the growth of inbound tourism, but also bring together tourism resources in Chengdu and its direct-fly cities.
“Chengdu is fully prepared for the development of tourism,” said Fu Yonglin, deputy mayor of Chengdu.
According to Fu, Chengdu attracted 120 million tourists from around the world last year with tourism income of 107 billion yuan ($17.4 billion) accounting for 8.4 percent of the city's GDP.
Latest data shows that inbound tourism in China decreased 4.2 percent in the first half of this year, while those bound for Chengdu increased 6.9 percent.
Chengdu is the fourth city in the Chinese mainland to adopt the 72-hour visa-free policy, after Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou. The policy took effect on Sept 1, which allows transit passengers from 45 countries who have valid visas and a flight ticket to a third country to stay up to 72 hours in Chengdu, as well as cities and counties under its administration.
During the 72 hours in Chengdu, visitors can go to the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, the Jinsha Site Museum, the Du Fu Thatched Cottage Museum and the Temple of the Marquis of Wu, to name a few.
The inland city has become the fourth largest aviation hub in China. The Chengdu Shuangliu international airport has 31 passenger and cargo international direct routes, covering 163 cities around the world, Fu said.
Akbar Al Baker, chief executive of Qatar Airways, said Chengdu is a prosperous city both in economy and tourism.
“We believe Chengdu is going to play a decisive role in the new round of economic development in the western region of China with its great market potential,” Akbar said.
Qatar Airways opened a direct flight between Chengdu and Doha on Sept 3.
A new direct flight between Chengdu and London is to open on Sept 23, and flights to San Francisco, New York, Moscow and Africa are also being planned, according to a manager of the airport.