China Becomes Third Most Popular Tourist Destination

April 16th, 2011

Forbidden City, BeijingChina became the third most visited country in the world in 2010, moving ahead of Spain in the rankings. China now trails only France and the USA in terms of the total number of international arrivals spending at least one night in the country. China had over 55 million such visitors last year, which was a more than 9% increase on 2009. Most visitors came from Asia, with neighbours South Korea, Japan and Russia being the three biggest sources of visitors. Of the Western countries, the USA provided the most visitors with just over two million, Canada was next with about 690 000, and Australia was third with around 660 000 visits.

Read the rest of this entry »

Buying Chinese Train Tickets Online

March 17th, 2011

The other day I posted about the Beijing Railway Administration's plans to introduce an online train ticket booking service. I also said that I doubted the service would be accessible to foreign travelers due to the language barrier and online payment issues. This got me thinking that some travelers might like to know what options they do have. And so here is a summary of the options for booking Chinese train tickets online.

There are a number of agencies that offer this service. But I should start off by saying that there are a number of issues that make things a bit difficult for those travelers who like to have their train transport organized in advance. Read the rest of this entry »

Online Train Ticket Bookings for China

March 12th, 2011

Train Ticket QueueIn good news for travelers, the Beijing Railway Administration recently announced that they would introduce online train ticket bookings to coincide with the launch of the Beijing-Shanghai high-speed Railway towards the end of June, 2011. At this stage I can’t see any information to say whether this service will also be available in English.

My guess is that it probably won’t be. And it almost certainly won’t be possible to pay with a foreign credit card online given that even major travel providers targeting foreign tourists such as CTrip and Elong require a faxed credit card authorisation form. But it’s good news nonetheless. Anything that helps to shorten the often horrendous queues at train stations in China has to be a good thing. Read the rest of this entry »

Hangzhou Tourism Campaign

February 20th, 2011

Hangzhou is launching a world-wide tourism campaign starting tomorrow (Monday, February 20th). The centerpiece of the campaign is to be a television ad produced by the BBC which will air on BBC World. As part of the campaign there will also be PR pieces published by Lonely Planet, Trip Advisor and National Geographic Traveler.

Hangzhou is only the third city in China to run ads on foreign television (after Beijing and Shanghai) and the Hangzhou Tourism Commission is apparently pushing to put Hangzhou in the same league. They figure that at the moment not many people in the West have really heard of Hangzhou and the idea of this campaign is to change that. Read the rest of this entry »