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Sichuan discount cards prove big hit

DISCOUNT cards offered by the tourism authorities in Chengdu City, capital of Sichuan Province, received an overwhelming response on the Internet yesterday. Altogether 600,000 "Panda Cards" will be issued in Shanghai. Card holders will get one-off free entrance to 11 tourist attractions in Sichuan Province.

Yesterday was the first day locals could apply online to receive one of the cards. The Website and a telephone hotline where locals could inquire about the cards were inundated yesterday. The hotline (400-702-5888) received hundreds of calls and residents complained on the forum that they couldn't get through.

To boost the recovery of tourism in Sichuan Province after last year's massive earthquake, Chengdu's travel authorities will distribute 15 million Panda Cards across the country.

Residents can apply using their ID cards and paying a fee of 1 yuan (15 US cents) when distribution starts later this month.

Online application is available at and No English service is currently available.

People will also be able to buy the card at several sites in the city later this month. Details will be posted online.

To prevent the disorder that happened recently when the Changzhou and Hangzhou travel coupons were issued, residents will pick up the card then register personal information online, rather than filling out forms when they pick it up, which is hoped to keep queuing times to a minimum.

Using the cards, travelers can visit 11 famous attractions in Sichuan free of charge, including Mount Qingcheng and Dujiangyan Dam.

The card can be used once at each attraction and expires at the end of the year.

The cards offer more than just free tickets for travelers, said Chengdu's travel authorities. Tourists will also enjoy discounts in designated hotels and restaurants in the future.

Many famous attractions in Sichuan will provide half-price tickets in May to all tourists. Some attractions, such as Mount Emei and Jiuzhaigou Ravine, will be free to visit on May 12, the anniversary of the quake.


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