• Information technology will be utilized in tourism.

Information technology will be utilized in tourism. (Photo : Getty Images)

In line with China’s direction to shift the economy from trade and investment to service industry and consumer spending, the National Tourism Administration (NTA) released a developmental plan for tourism. The plan includes the use of information technology in tourism.

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By 2020, all tourist destinations classified as 4A sites or above must have free WiFi, audio guides, online reservations and other information services. In a five-level assessment system, the 4A grading ranks second to the highest.

A target of 15 percent or more of the total tourism investment is budgeted to the online tourism businesses. Based on the plan, online travel spending must reach at least 20 percent of the total tourist spending by 2020.

Online travel spending will include online bookings in hotels and other tourist establishments, purchase of tickets to tourist attractions, and others.

Information technology will also be used to market China’s tourist attractions. Information about historical sites, cultural celebrations, and others will be made available online.

In addition to the planned use of information technology, experts propose a tourism website where interested visitors may make queries. The inquiries will be answered online by tourist administration staff.

The number of video surveillance and environmental monitoring in tourist destinations will also be increased to ensure the safety of the tourists.

China’s goal is to increase the 1.3 trillion yuan annual investment in the tourism sector in 2016 to 2 trillion yuan ($290 billion) by 2020. An increase of more than 12 percent in the gross domestic product is expected to come from tourism investment.

Integrated information sharing systems and higher quality of service to tourists will be provided, according to the NTA’s developmental plan. The Chinese government believes that the accessibility of tourist information is vital for the tourism sector’s growth.

Tourism will play a vital role in China’s economy as it is directed towards service industry and consumer spending. With the use of information technology in tourism, targets made by the government can be achieved.