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China to promote tourism as a main industry

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China plans to develop the tourism industry into a strategic pillar industry in the national economy, according to an announcement by the State Council in an executive meeting chaired by Premier Wen J

China plans to develop the tourism industry into a strategic pillar industry in the national economy, according to an announcement by the State Council in an executive meeting chaired by Premier Wen Jiabao on Wednesday.

The government appealed to improve the management and services in the tourism industry by using fewer financial resources but creating more job opportunities. The tourism infrastructure, such as railway construction, tourist spots and facilities would be developed and more people properly trained for the industry.

Previously the government gave priority to State-owned enterprises in the tourism industry. But now privately-owned companies can now enter the tourism industry with the same requirements as State-owned ones.

The plan encourages cooperation between the tourism industry and related sectors such as culture, sports, agriculture, forestry and environmental protection.

Protection of eco-systems, natural environments and cultural heritage is also emphasized in the statement.