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Tsunami to fuel S. China tour market 
Last Updated(Beijing Time):2004-12-30 11:11

Industry sources say demands for tours to southern China resorts will heat up during the peak travel times of the Spring Festival due to Sunday's unprecedented tsunami that was triggered by a magnitude-9 earthquake in South and Southeast Asia.

The latest death toll count in the massive natural disaster has reached over 55,000, according to Xinhua news agency.

Tourists planning to visit coastal resorts in Thailand, the Philippines, Sri Lanka and the Maldives are turning to China's Hainan Island, Hong Kong and Yunan province for alternatives to enjoy beaches, sunshine, and tropical landscapes at reasonable prices, according to Yang Tao, vacation product supervisor of, a leading online travel service operator in China.

Of the 200-plus people who had booked January tours to Thailand's Phuket Island and the Maldives at Ctrip, nearly all have canceled their trips with up to 60 percent having changed to packages to Yunnan's Lijiang and Hong Kong, Yang said.

Anticipating a lack of interest in the Southeast Asia market for the next few months, Ctrip is promoting Southern China trips to make up the business.

Confident about the same picturesque beaches, sunshine, tropical climate and the reasonable prices of domestic destinations, Yang said the southern China routes will be a hit as good substitutes to fill the void caused by the loss of the Southeastern Asia tours.

But prices of the trips will go up, he said, noting that some high star hotels are planning to increase rates by some 15 percent.

That means the cost of a five-star hotel will exceed 1,000 yuan (US$121), and a night at the Sheraton, a luxury hotel, may reach 2,000 yuan, he added. 
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