Source: China Daily Updated: 2013-07-30
Weak global economy, poor services blamed
The capital is attracting fewer tourists compared to this time last year and tourist complaints concerning the city have risen over the last six months.
The capital attracted 2.14 million tourists during the first six months of this year, a 14.3 percent decrease from the same period last year, according to the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Statistics.
Tourists at Tian'anmen Square attract attention with their Manchu-style headwear in May. PROVIDED TO CHINA DAILY
The decline started in 2012 when the city welcomed 5 million tourists, down 3.76 percent from 5.20 million in 2011, according to the authority.
Meanwhile, the capital city's tourist satisfaction index stood at 75.28 in the second quarter. This marked a drop from 80.97 in the first quarter, according to the China Tourism Academy.
The score was the lowest since the academy started the quarterly survey in 2009.
To combat the downward trend, the Beijing Commission of Tourism Development held a conference in July to discuss possible remedies.
A spokesperson for the commission told China Daily that details of a plan to boost tourism will be worked out soon.
A weak global economy has played a part as has an appreciating currency, said Zhang Hui, a tourism management professor at Beijing Jiaotong University.
More importantly, services in many Chinese cities do not meet the standards of the West, and scenic spots can be overcrowded, said Zhang.
A China Tourism Academy survey also shows that in the second quarter, the complaint rate of inbound tourists nationwide was 7.20 percent, rising from 5.77 percent of the first quarter.
Complaints focused on the environment at scenic spots and urban management, said Chen Xu from the China Tourism Academy.
"Chinese cities, including Beijing, have not established a system that can provide solid services for individual tourists," Zhang said.
Hu Jiying, a marketing manager at China CYTS Tours, said that her company witnessed a sharp drop in tourists, especially in the first half of this year.
The company saw the number of tourists from Japan to Beijing drop nearly 70 percent in the first half of the year, while Beijing also saw a 30 percent decrease in European tourists, according to Hu.
The trend was partly because China was losing its attractiveness to overseas tourists amid rising costs, said Hu.
The Beijing market was particularly affected as most tourists will choose the capital as their first destination in China, Hu said.
Hu's company has tried to provide more detailed services for overseas tourists, such as providing greater tour choices.
Group tours in Beijing were not popular because tourists did not know each other and the service in crowded scenic spots was poor, said Jia Jianqiang, a founder of Beijing-based startup tourism company Liurenyou.com.