Palace Museum, Dunhuang, Forbidden City, Guilin, beautiful landscapes
China was closed to almost all foreign visitors from 1949 to the mid-1970s. Since economic reforms were implemented in 1979, the government has promoted tourism as a means of earning foreign currency. China’s tourism sector has developed very rapidly. The government has constructed major hotels, increased air travel to China and within the country, and opened historic sites to tourists. Millions of visitors travel to China for its beautiful landscapes, interesting and diverse culture, and important historical attractions. Popular sites include the Great Wall in northern China, the Forbidden City (now operated as the Palace Museum) in Beijing, the terra-cotta warriors of Qin Shihuangdi’s tomb near Xi’an, the bustling streets and markets of Shanghai, the scenic topography near Guilin, and the ancient Buddhist frescoes in caves near Dunhuang.
In 2000, 31 million tourists visited mainland China. The vast majority came from Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan. Large numbers of tourists also came from Japan, Russia, the United States, Singapore, the Philippines, Thailand, Germany, Canada, France, and Australia. The improvement in economic circumstances and an increase in leisure time have made it possible for increasing numbers of Chinese people to travel within the country. In 1995, 629 million Chinese people traveled in China, which represented an increase of 40 percent since the previous year.
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