China uses Beijing Olympics as springboard for visits

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Serving up Beijing

Continental Airlines will launch daily nonstop Newark-Beijing service June 15, and effective immediately, Continental Airlines Vacations is offering a series of six tour itineraries, operated by Pacific Delight World Tours.

Sophia Luk, Pacific Delights senior vice president, marketing & 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.-- N.G.

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 specifically targeting the millions of commuters who enter New York City every week.

The $1.6 million campaign to promote the 2008 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 railroad station, with ads on the floors and walls. In addition, through July, billboard ads are positioned at the George Washington Bridge and Lincoln Tunnel, two key entry points for commuters to New York.

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 CNTO director Shan Zhong Zhu. The ads also point readers to www.discoverchinanow.com where an extensive list of tour operator packages is highlighted.

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

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 the first quarter of 2005, he added, total tourist arrivals were up 14.8% and foreign exchange revenues up 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 previously 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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