province's total tourism revenue in May was 64.9 percent less than the same period last year. Many people who were in tourism-related jobs before the quake remain unemployed and struggling to rebuild their lives. Speaking to Xinhua during an interview on May 27, Zhang Gu, head of Sichuan Provincial Tourism Administration, said the earthquake had cost Sichuan 62.4 billion yuan ($8.9 billion) in tourism revenue, which was about half of the total tourism revenue of 2007.
In this part of China, tourism is an economic pillar that the region can little afford to lose. With this in mind, the government of Chengdu, which has lost 30.4 billion yuan ($4.34 billion) in tourism revenue since the quake, has launched a plan to rejuvenate the industry.
In an effort to dismiss rumors that the region is unsafe to travel in and that visitors must wear masks to protect themselves from bacteria, city government leaders will tour China, giving a series of speeches on the region's recovery.
According to a document on rejuvenating the tourism industry issued by the government of Chengdu on June 17, it will organize vocational training for workers in tourism-related jobs whose companies have no business and subsidize training fees for those who pass the exams. To encourage hotels to reopen for business, the government will subsidize water fees for star-rated hotels in the city and give subsidies to village hotels in devastated areas, which can reopen before July 12, ranging from 5,000 yuan ($714.3) to 10,000 yuan ($1,429).
Chengdu will guarantee the repayment of bank loans for selected tour agencies, star-rated hotels, bus rental companies and souvenir manufacturers that are in a sound financial situation. These companies will also enjoy tax reductions.
In an effort to encourage more tourists to come, visitors on group tours will be given a 50-percent discount on tickets to enter scenic spots. Tourism agencies will also enjoy subsidies for organizing group tours to Chengdu based on the number of tourists. Tourism agencies that charter airplanes and trains will receive extra subsidies of no less than 10,000 yuan ($1,429). The government has also promised to give monetary awards to scenic area administrations, tourism agencies and hotels that can earn higher accreditation in their industries.
On June 14, Chengdu launched a media campaign to promote tourism in the city by opening 10 new tourism routes with themes, including local cuisine, pandas and ancient culture.
Chengdu Tourism Administration announced that all of these scenic spots have met safety standards. By the end of June, of the 49 scenic areas in Chengdu, 46 had been reopened to tourists.
BOUNCING BACK: Tourists take photos in the scenic park of Dujiangyan irrigation system, which launched a three-month admission free promotion on June 14 to draw tourists back after the