While the modern world is a buzz in Beijing and Shanghai, the idyllic villages and natural beauty that abound in Yellowstone or Huangshan Mountain and the Zhangjiajie region is otherworldly. Both misty mountain regions are filled with magic and make for great add ons to any urban itinerary.
As cruising the great rivers of the world has become the fastest growing segment of the cruise industry, the great rivers of China have become increasingly popular, attracting not just the typical river cruise passenger - mature, well-educated, well-traveled - but also younger travelers in search of adventure.
Judging from feedback on various cruise blogs, what passengers like about China river cruises is the ease of travel that is offered. In the hands of skilled (often multilingual) cruise directors, they do not have to cope unaided with a difficult language, unfamiliar cuisine or a culture they may not understand. Equally important is the sense of security that experienced personnel afford some travelers who might not otherwise feel comfortable in a totally unfamiliar environment.
Ancient Chinese culture is no stranger to long-term planning. So, while this year holds promise and is undoubtedly expected to be the biggest year for tourism to China, tourism executives are planning to reach the moon by 2020.
The glory of the Summer Olympics in Beijing (Aug. 8-24) is expected to not only attract unprecedented numbers of tourists to China, but will also shower other areas in the region, too. During the Olympics, the Autonomous Region of Tibet is hoping to catch on fire when the Olympic torch reaches Mt. Qomolangma in May 2008. Right behind the Olympics is a natural phenomenon that could keep China and some of its neighbors in the special-interest spotlight when China and the South Pacific experience a total eclipse of the sun on July 22, 2009; tours to see it are reportedly selling out almost as soon as they’re announced.
The 2008 Beijing Olympics certainly put China’s capital city in the global travel spotlight, judging from the spike in hotel development that preceded the event. Granted, increased room-supply exceeded demand by Olympic visitors to Beijing. According to the Aug. 21, 2008 issue of BusinessWeek, Beijing has a full one-fifth, or 5,790 more hotels than it did at the end of 2007. Smith Travel Research Outlook for the Chinese hotel industry reports that new hotel openings in Beijing and lighter than expected pre-Olympic demand caused occupancy to drop 10.7 percent to 61.8 percent. Although the 2008 Olympics have come to a close, these hotels are still open for business and in need of putting heads in beds. For the traveling public, this translates as future opportunity to visit Beijing at nightly rates that don’t reflect Olympic inflation.
Teaching English, building roads, revitalizing schools, and protecting wildlife are not usually the first things that come to mind when most people think of romantic getaways. However, couples, families and even co-workers are rejuvenating their relationships or bonding as a corporate team as they work together on service projects overseas.