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Travel fair offers discounts to help boost tourism industry

MANY cities and tour agencies exhibiting at the Shanghai World Travel Fair, which opened yesterday, were offering discounts to help boost tourism in the economic downturn.

The fair, which closes tomorrow, has attracted nearly 450 exhibitors, representing 50 countries and regions, to the Shanghai New International Expo Center in Pudong New Area, said the Shanghai Tourism Administration.

Almost all the tour agencies at the fair were offering discount packages. For example, the Spring International Travel Service Co Ltd, was offering special discounts on eight-day tours to Australia, which are already heavily discounted because of the downturn. The company is offering people who were born on the 10th of any month a discount of 3,000 yuan (US$428). While those who were born in October will get 2,000 yuan off.

Some agencies said they would use the fair to try to improve tour quality to improve sales.

The Jinjiang International Travel Service Co Ltd said they will talk with their Russian connections to improve tours there.

"We have received complaints about accommodation in Russia from our clients," said general manager Ge Wanjun. "And we'll try to settle down the problem."

Some Chinese cities were handing out travel vouchers. Ningbo and Yuyao in Zhejiang Province will hand out 2,000 coupons, valued at 1,200 yuan each. Ninghai, also in Zhejiang, is giving out 2,000 coupons, valued at 200 yuan each.

The giant Happy Valley amusement park, which opens in Songjiang District in July, was selling year-long entry cards for 388 yuan each. Admission normally is 200 yuan.

Taiwan was looking at other ways to attract tourists. Yilan County hoped to improve tourism through cultural exchange.

"We are here to invite a Shanghai acrobatic group to give performance in Yilan," said Lu Chen-Sam, director of the county's Culture Affairs Bureau.


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