China blitzes New York area with tourism ads


NEW YORK -- The China National Tourist Office (CNTO), which this spring launched the largest advertising campaign in its history, stepped up the effort this month with ads targeting the millions of commuters entering New York every week.

The $1.6 million campaign to promote the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing debuted in April with a 16-page, four-color insert in the Los Angeles Times, New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle and USA Today, followed by 20 weeks of half-page ads in USA Today.

In New York, through June, the CNTO is sponsoring a series of giant advertising displays in the citys Grand Central Station, with ads on the floors and walls of passages used by rail commuters.

In addition, through July, billboard ads are positioned at the George Washington Bridge and Lincoln Tunnel, the two busiest crossings between New Jersey and Manhattan.

Although the 2008 Olympic Games are the impetus for the campaign, the ad message is meant to lure visitors to the country for much more.

It invites them to experience all that China and its immense and diverse destination has to offer, said Shan Zhong Zhu, the CNTOs director.

The ads also point readers to, where an extensive list of tour operators packages is highlighted.

The spring and summer campaign will be followed by a print campaign in the fall, but further details have not been determined.

Meanwhile, Continental Airlines will launch daily nonstop Newark-Beijing service June 15, and, effective immediately, Continental Airlines Vacations is offering six tours operated by Pacific Delight World Tours.

Sophia Luk, Pacific Delights senior vice president of marketing and sales, said the packages offer extra value because passengers will have no additional cost if they connect to the transpacific service on Continental flights from 45 U.S. cities as far afield as Minneapolis, Dallas, Miami and Burlington, Vt.

The 13-hour, 40-minute Continental service will travel the polar route.

China is already on something of a tourism roll. Noting the U.S. is Chinas biggest and most important long-haul market, Zhu reported that China welcomed a record-breaking 1.3 million Americans in 2004. In first-quarter 2005, he added, total tourist arrivals were up 14.8%, and foreign exchange revenues rose 23.6%.

Zhu noted that the latest data from the World Tourism Organization showed that while France, Spain and the U.S. remain the top three destinations, China moved from No. 5 to No. 4. Italy had held the fourth position.

To contact the reporter who wrote this article, send e-mail to Nadine Godwin at [email protected].


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