China reports double-digit rise in visitors in '98

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Despite the financial crisis in Asia, China welcomed more than 30.1 million visitors during the first half of 1998, an increase of 13.2% compared with the same period of 1997, officials with the Chinese National Tourism Office said during the American Travel Market here.

So far in 1998, 325,000 Americans visited China, an increase of 7.15% compared to the 1997 period.

In 1999, Chinese promotions will focus on ecology-oriented attractions and Macau. Portugal will relinquish control of the island in December 1999.

In another promotion, Chinese tourism officials and Northwest Airlines will stage a Chinese Folklore Festival at the Mall of America, near Minneapolis, from Oct. 2 to 11.

The aim is to bolster Midwest business; China gets the bulk of its U.S. tourists from both coasts.

Northwest will be introducing a China fare sale during the promotion, officials said.

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