Alongside the ever-growing rush to holiday in Western countries, Chinese citizens are increasingly choosing not to travel in China, especially in northern parts with Beijing particularly being rejected. Though the city boasts ancient history and internationally recognized tourist hot-spots such as the Great Wall, Summer Palace, Temple of Heaven, Forbidden City, and Tiananmen Square among others, it has seen a significant drop in popularity recently.
Foreigners are rejecting the city too. According to a report in the China Daily, 5.8 million foreign tourists have visited China this year, compared with 6.04 million over the same period in 2013. However, only 800,000 visited Beijing, a fall of 10 percent from the first quarter of last year. The situation resulted in the city’s total foreign exchange earnings falling to $23 billion, a year-on-year decline of 1.7 percent.
A number of reasons for such a serious decline were mentioned in the report, but the major reason was, unsurprisingly, the drastic pollution that tortures the city and neighboring provinces; this is often also cited as the reason for foreign talent increasingly leaving the country. Speaking to China Daily, Paul Procee a leading specialist at the Word Bank in Beijing said:
“I believe that air pollution is the most important and visible issue that influences people’s choices to move to or visit the city, which is a pity. Beijing has a lot of potential and looks beautiful on clean-air days when you can see the mountains in the background.”
Among other reasons given for the decline were the global economic downturn–many people simply cannot afford going overseas, people becoming over-familiar with China’s attractions due to the mass media and internet, as well as the replacement of historical buildings with shops and malls. The most attractive touristic destination in China was given as Sanya in Hainan Probince, sometimes referred to as ‘China’s Hawaii’, followed by Xiamen, Lijiang, Dali, Kunming, Guilin, Guiyang, Mount Changbai, and Mount Huangshan in Anhui Province.
Master image courtesy of 2008.sina.com