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Beijing, July 14: China will send 25 million people to Belt and Road countries in 2017, according to the travel service provider, C-trip.

A news report published in Chinese media says with the summer holidays well underway, China's overseas tourism market is as hot as the sun.

Top foreign destinations for Chinese travelers this summer are Japan and Southeast Asian nations, but other countries are being added to China's favorite travel destinations.

thumbnail China will send 25 million people to Belt and Road countries in 2017

Russia and the United Arab Emirates are among the top 20, and other countries along the Belt and Road Initiative are attractive to newcomers.

Data from C-trip revealed that 60% or a record 30 million Chinese tourists taking a break this summer will be travelling abroad, meaning that the competition is on among foreign countries to attract those tourists and their cash.

To attract more tourists, many countries are making efforts to make travel easier for Chinese tourists. Serbia and Belarus have both commenced visa-free policies for Chinese citizens this year. Canada, on the other hand, is setting up seven new visa application centers in China this year, in cities including Nanjing, Chengdu, Hangzhou and Jinan.

Anticipated to enhance the vibrant city of Yiwu, the 362-room Shangri-La Hotel, Yiwu opened on 24 June in the 52-storey mixed-use Yiwu World Trade Centre – the tallest building in Zhejiang Province.

Shangri La Hotel Yiwu Opens at the Gateway of Chinas New Silk Road

The tower comprises commercial space, apartments and shopping, and is located in the epicenter of the city’s business district and adjacent to the world-famous Yiwu International Commodity City.

Historically known as a trading town, Yiwu has burgeoned into an economic success attracting merchants from South America, Europe and the Middle East. The recent establishment of Yiwu as the starting point for the new Silk Road – a freight train service that retraces the ancient trading route connecting China with Asia and the rest of Europe – affirms the city’s prominence since it was founded in the Qin dynasty, more than two millenniums ago. 

To commemorate Shangri-La Hotel, Yiwu’s opening, an introductory offer priced from RMB888 is available until 3 September 2017 and includes daily breakfast buffet, as well as RMB200 credit which can be used against any hotel service. For reservations or details, call (86 579) 8151 8808 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. The daily room rate includes the prevailing Value Added Tax and 10 per cent service charge.

Shangri-La Hotel, Yiwu’s exquisite palette of warm sienna and walnut colours are a complementing canvas for the intricate Dongyang wood carved screens in the hotel’s public areas that connect guests to the culture and history of Zhejiang Province. In the spacious lobby is a painting by Mr. Zhou Shengfa, one of Yiwu’s most prominent artists. It depicts the scenic beauty of Zhejiang Province’s waterfalls and mountains – natural elements that are regarded as auspicious to harmonize the hotel’s environment. 

The tranquil setting continues to the hotel’s rooms – starting from 48 square meters – and 136 serviced apartments that are located from levels nine to 38 of the building and offer far-reaching views of the sprawling Yiwu landscape. Each room is dressed in natural colours and adorned with the Chinese Rose – the flower of Yiwu – which can be found engraved on wood, in a painting and embossed on panels to provide an extra dimension of luxury. Other features include complimentary Wi-Fi, a marble bathroom with premier toiletries, an executive desk and large picture windows.

The elegant suites provide a minimum of 96 square meters of living space and look out onto the Yiwu River. Enhanced by a full range of modern touches such as a Blu-ray player and tea and coffee making machine, suite guests can also enjoy the services of the hotel’s Horizon Club Lounge where breakfast, refreshments and cocktails are served daily.

Three hotel restaurants add to the city’s dining destinations. Yue Xiu Wok, the all-day dining restaurant, showcases extensive buffet presentations at the multiple cooking stations. Its brick walls and dark wood floors provide a modern perspective to dining, while cooking paraphernalia line the shelves. Eight private dining rooms provide separate gathering spaces for business entertainment or family celebrations. 

During breakfast, lunch and dinner, Brown Sugar Bakery & Cafe comes to life with made-to-order Asian and Western dishes. Design elements such as hanging blown glass lamps, an exposed ceiling and black accents complete the distinctly contemporary guest experience. An outdoor terrace is available for alfresco dining.

The Lobby Lounge, crowned with an ornate rose chandelier in homage to the city’s official flower, serves refreshments and evening cocktails, and is the gathering place for light snacks at any time of the day. 

More than 3,880 square meters of event space offers extensive meeting and conference facilities including a 2,000-square-metre and 12-metre-high pillar-less Grand Ballroom, which comfortably accommodates 1,000 guests for banquets. Shangri-La Hotel, Yiwu is the first in the city to feature an elevator that is large enough to transport automobiles directly to the ballroom. Eleven further function rooms with exceptional facilities are supported by the hotel’s expert team of event organizers. 

For wellness and relaxation, the hotel’s spa offers treatment rooms for body treatments and massages. A fully equipped gym, an indoor heated swimming pool, Jacuzzi, sauna and steam rooms are provided for complimentary guest use. 

Hangzhou and Shanghai are easily accessible to Yiwu via a 30-minute and 90-minute high-speed train journey, respectively. Within a short distance from Shangri-La Hotel, Yiwu are the International Expo Centre, airport and train station. 

Hong Kong-based Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts, one of the world’s premier hotel management companies, currently operates over 95 hotels in 22 countries and 73 destinations under the Shangri-La, Kerry, Hotel Jen and Traders brands. Prominently positioned in Asia, the group has established its brand hallmark of “hospitality from the heart” over four decades in Asia Pacific, the Middle East, Europe, North America and the Indian Ocean. The group has a substantial development pipeline with upcoming projects in Australia, mainland China, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia and Sri Lanka.
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Twice as many elephants work in Thailand’s tourism industry as the rest of Asia combined, with the vast majority kept in “severely inadequate conditions”, a new report revealed Thursday.

Thailand leads the pack for Asias abused tourist elephants

The world’s largest land mammal is a huge draw for tourists across two continents. But while Africa’s elephants are more likely to be spotted roaming vast nature reserves, their Asian cousins are less fortunate.

A multi-million dollar industry has flourished in recent decades with tourists taking rides on the giant beasts or watching them perform in circus shows.

Researchers from World Animal Protection spent two years visiting 220 venues using elephants across Asia, in what they describe as the most comprehensive survey to date of a rapidly growing, lucrative, but poorly regulated industry.

Their data showed pachyderm welfare routinely came in second place to turning a fast profit, with three-quarters of Asia’s captive elephants kept in conditions that were rated poor or unacceptable.

Thailand stood out as the global epicentre. Of the 2,923 elephants WAP documented working within Asia’s tourism trade, 2,198 were found in Thailand alone.

The next largest industry was India, with an estimated 617 elephants, followed by Sri Lanka on 166, Nepal on 147, Laos on 59 and Cambodia with just 36.

All the venues visited, which researchers said represented 90 percent of the industry, were rated on a scale of 1-10 in terms of conditions with 77 percent scoring between just one to five — what researchers classified as “poor or unacceptable”.

“When not giving rides or performing, the elephants were typically chained day and night, most of the time to chains less than three metres long. They were also fed poor diets, given limited appropriate veterinary care and were frequently kept on concrete floors in stressful locations,” the report said.

 India fared the worst on living conditions with an average score of 4.4, followed by Thailand on 4.6, Nepal on 4.8, Sri Lanka on 4.9 and on Laos 5.0.

Cambodia averaged 6.5 but researchers noted there were just 36 elephant in four venues, two of which got good marks.

Highest rated venues rarely or never chained their elephants, limited or banned close interactions with tourists and allowed the animals to socialise in herds.

In Thailand only eight venues were rated as good, compared to 114 rated poor.

Jan Schmidt-Burbach, a Thailand-based expert with WAP, said tourists had the power to improve captive elephant lives by choosing venues that promote observing animals over interacting with them.

“As a general rule, if you can ride, hug or have a selfie with a wild animal it’s cruel and you just shouldn’t do it,” he told foreign media agencies.

Researchers added that the 30 percent increase in Thailand’s tourist elephant population since 2010 was based mostly in poorly rated venues.

Thailand’s elephant entertainment industry took hold in the 1990s after authorities banned the use of elephants in commercial logging and owners said they had to find new revenue.Most of that generation of elephants have now died out, yet the number of elephants involved in the trade keeps increasing. The country has more elephants in captivity than living in the wild.

WAP said they were particularly concerned by Thailand’s animal circuses, where elephants can often be seen riding tricycles, walking on tightropes and even playing basketball.

“The training required to make elephants perform such tricks is particularly cruel and stressful,” researchers said.
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Qatar recently announced that tourists from China will be able to get 30-day visas on arrival for roughly $30.

According to the official WeChat account of the Bureau of Consular Affairs of the Chinese foreign ministry on Monday, Chinese tourists only need a passport with at least six months of validity, a return ticket, proof of accommodation, as well as proof of financial support amounting to $1,500 in cash or equalivant credit. An online application is also available. Electronic visas can be obtained via email within 48 hours and visitors can track the progress of the application online.

Chinese Tourists to Get Visas on Arrival in Qatar

The move comes as Qatar seeks to boost tourism amid a boycott by Arab nations, including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain.

Regarding the diplomatic crisis, China’s Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang on July 7 said that China hopes the relevant countries can properly solve their differences through dialogue and negotiation and that the situation will stabilize soon.

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