Port city of Xiamen has sights set on Hong Kong's share of tourism

While record numbers of Chinese tourists are flooding in to Hong Kong over the New Year holidays it seems the city's position as China's favorite travel spot is increasingly under threat - from a city that sits just a one-hour flight away.

The historic port city of Xiamen - situated in China's southern Fujian province - has this week been declared the country's most popular internal destination for the Chinese New Year period and second only to Hong Kong in terms of travel both inside and outside the country.

According to a report released by the China Tourism Academy (http://eng.ctaweb.org) on Wednesday, Xiamen has risen to number two from being the fourth-ranked city for the past two New Year periods.

While Hong Kong is most certainly a Chinese city, its status as a "Special Administrative Region" since reverting to Chinese sovereignty in 1997 means it is still considered "overseas'' in terms of such reports and surveys.

Hong Kong expects 650,000 Chinese visitors over the February 3-6 New Year period - a rise of 15 percent - but its tourism chiefs will be looking north with some concern, considering Xiamen has just come off a 20 percent rise in all tourist arrivals in 2010.

Thirty million people took in the city's sites over the past year, generating an impressive 38.3 billion yuan (4.2 billion euros), with the fact that Xiamen from last April opened its bullet train service - linking the city to major centers such as Fuzhou and Shanghai - being given as one of the reasons for the upsurge.

Xiamen's tourism chiefs are also putting the rise in numbers down to increased promotion of the city's attractions, which include its beaches (which look out towards Taiwan), cultural heritage sights such as ancient temples - and the famous Chinese white dolphin.

China's rapid development over the past 30 years has been blamed for a significant decrease in the numbers of the dolphins - known locally as "giant panda in the sea" - but under state protection since 1988.

A Chinese white dolphin reserve of 5,500 hectares was set up in Xiamen in 1997 and officials say they are only just now seeing the benefits.

"In December, more than 30 dolphins appeared in one group in the Wuyuan Bay of Xiamen," Chen Bingyu, from the Xiamen Precious and Rare Marine Species Reserve Management Office, told the official Chinese news agency Xinhua. "It's the first time in more than 20 years."

According to CTA, China's 10 most popular New Year destinations in 2011 are:

1) Hong Kong
2) Xiamen
3) Beijing
4) Shanghai
5) Sanya
6) Hangzhou
7) Guangzhou
8) Shenzhen
9) Chengdu
10) Harbin

For more details on Xiamen and what it has to offer, log onto http://english.xm.gov.cn

MS

The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations

News
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
Sport
Danny Welbeck's Manchester United future is in doubt
footballGunners confirm signing from Manchester United
Sport
footballStriker has moved on loan for the remainder of the season
Sport
footballFeaturing Bart Simpson
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
New Articles
Olivia Colman topped the list of the 30 most influential females in broadcasting
tv
News
Kelly Brook
peopleA spokesperson said the support group was 'extremely disappointed'
News
The five geckos were launched into space to find out about the effects of weightlessness on the creatures’ sex lives
i100
Life and Style
techIf those brochure kitchens look a little too perfect to be true, well, that’s probably because they are
Sport
Andy Murray celebrates a shot while playing Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
TennisWin sets up blockbuster US Open quarter-final against Djokovic
Arts and Entertainment
Hare’s a riddle: Kit Williams with the treasure linked to Masquerade
booksRiddling trilogy could net you $3m
Arts and Entertainment
Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand performs live
music Pro-independence show to take place four days before vote
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
News
news Video - hailed as 'most original' since Benedict Cumberbatch's
News
i100
Life and Style
The longer David Sedaris had his Fitbit, the further afield his walks took him through the West Sussex countryside
lifeDavid Sedaris: What I learnt from my fitness tracker about the world
Arts and Entertainment
Word master: Self holds up a copy of his novel ‘Umbrella’
booksUnlike 'talented mediocrity' George Orwell, you must approach this writer dictionary in hand
News
i100
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Marketing Executive / Member Services Exec

    £20 - 26k + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Marketing Executive / Member Services Ex...

    Sales Account Manager

    £15,000 - £25,000: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has arisen for ...

    VB.NET and C# developer (VB.NET,C#,ASP.NET)

    £30000 - £45000 per annum + Bonus+Benefits+Package: Harrington Starr: VB.NET a...

    Business Development Manager / Sales Pro

    £30 - 35k + Uncapped Comission (£70k Y1 OTE): Guru Careers: A Business Develop...

    Day In a Page

    'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

    'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

    US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
    Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

    A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

    Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
    Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

    James Frey's literary treasure hunt

    Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
    Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

    Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

    What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
    Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

    Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

    Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
    Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

    The big names to look for this fashion week

    This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
    Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

    'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

    Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
    Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

    Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

    Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
    Al Pacino wows Venice

    Al Pacino wows Venice

    Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
    Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

    Neil Lawson Baker interview

    ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
    The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

    The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

    Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
    The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

    The model for a gadget launch

    Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
    Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

    She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

    Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
    Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

    Get well soon, Joan Rivers

    She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
    Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

    A fresh take on an old foe

    Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering