Tourist Attraction Rating Categories of China


Tourism in China is a growing industry that is becoming a significant part of the Chinese economy. The rate of tourism has greatly expanded over the last few decades since the beginning of Chinese economic reform, reform and opening-up. The emergence of a Nouveau riche, newly rich middle class and an easing of restrictions on movement by the People's Republic of China, Chinese authorities are both fueling this travel boom. China has become one of world's largest outbound tourist markets. According to Euromonitor International, economic growth and higher incomes in nearby Asian countries will help China to become the world’s number one tourist destination by 2030. China ranked second in the world for travel and tourism's contribution to GDP in 2014 ($943.1 billion), and first in the world for travel and tourism's contribution to employment (66,086,000 jobs in 2014). Tourism, based on direct, indirect, and induced impact, accounted for 9.3 percent of China's GDP in 2013. In 2017, the total contributions of China's Travel and Tourism sector made up 11% of its GDP. In 2018, the domestic tourism sector contributed around USD 1.47 trillion to the nation's GDP. Since 2012, tourists from China have been the world's top spender in international tourism, leading global outbound travel. In 2016, the country accounted for 21% of the world's international tourism spending, or $261 billion. (Do note that the stats include journeys made to the special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macau, as well as Taiwan; in 2017, these accounted for 69.5m of the so-called "overseas" journeys.) As of 2018, only 7% of Chinese had a People's Republic of China passport, passport, so the "potential for further growth is staggering", according to a UK news report.


History of the People's Republic of China, Between 1949 and 1974, the People's Republic was closed to all. In the late 1970s, when Deng Xiaoping decided to promote tourism vigorously as a means of earning foreign exchange market, foreign exchange, China started to develop its tourism industry. Major hotel construction programs greatly increased the number of hotels and guest house (lodging), guest houses, more historic and scenic spots were renovated and opened to tourists, and professional guides and other service personnel were trained. In 2018, the Chinese Hotel industry had a large pipeline of 2,500 new hotel projects. The expansion of domestic and international airline traffic and other tourist transportation facilities made travel more convenient. Over 250 cities and countries had been opened to foreign visitors by the mid-1980s. Travellers needed only valid Visa (document), visas or Permanent residency, residence permits to visit 100 locations; the remaining locales required Permit to travel, travel permits from Chinese public security bureau, public security departments. In 1985 approximately 1.4 million foreigners visited China, and nearly US$1.3 billion was earned from tourism. In 2015, China was the fourth most visited country in the world, after France, United States, and Spain, with 56.9 million international tourists per year. In 2017, tourism contributed about CNY 8.77 trillion (US$1.45 trillion), 11.04% of the GDP, and contributed direct and indirect employment of up to 28.25 million people. There were 139.48 million inbound trips and five billion domestic trips.


China has become a major tourist destination following its Chinese economic reform, reform and opening to the world in the late 1970s instigated by Deng Xiaoping. In 1978, China received about 230,000 international foreign tourists, mostly because of the severe limitations that the government placed on who was allowed to visit the country and who was not.Lew, Alan A. 1987. The History, Policies and Social Impact of International Tourism in the People's Republic of China. Asian Profile 15(2)April:117 28. Data from 2016 showed that the majority of foreign visitors hailed from Asian countries with South Korea being the top source country for China inbound tourism. Among the number of tourist arrivals, a substantial 81.06 million are from Hong Kong, 23.5 million from Macau and 5.73 million coming from Taiwan. The number of foreigners visiting China in the same year, was 28.15 million. In the same year, overnight visitors increased 4.2% over the same period of 2015 to 59.27 million (of which over 60% came from Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan).

Visitor statistics

Most visitors arriving in China were from the following areas of residence or countries of nationality:


Some form of Chinese is virtually universal in China, with Standard Mandarin, Mandarin as the standard form and many varieties of Chinese, other varieties also in use; some, like Yue Chinese, Cantonese and Wu Chinese, Shanghainese, have tens of millions of speakers. Although the vast majority of Chinese do not speak English, due to the educational system, many Chinese near and in urban areas can read and write it, even though they may have difficulty with spoken English. According to research completed by ''The Daily Telegraph'' in 2017, less than 1 percent of people (some 10 million) in China speak English conversationally.

Tourist Attraction Rating Categories

Tourist Attraction Rating Categories () is a rating system used by the Chinese authorities to determine the quality of the attraction relative to its peers in terms of safety, sanitation and transportation. It is broken up into five categories which are A (or 1A, the lowest level), AA (2A), AAA (3A), AAAA (4A) and AAAAA (5A, the highest level). The categories are awarded based on, amongst other factors, the importance of the site, transportation, tours as well as issues related to safety and sanitation. The system was established in 1999 and extended in 2004 (when the category AAAAA was introduced). The ratings are administered by the China National Tourism Administration (CNTA) and are based on the code "Categories and Rating Standard of Tourist Attractions".


Notable ancient capitals

*Xi'an, Shaanxi *Nanjing, Jiangsu *Luoyang, Henan *Xuchang, Henan *Hangzhou, Zhejiang *Zhengzhou, Henan *Anyang, Henan *Kaifeng, Henan

Renowned historic cities and old towns

*Guling, Jiujiang, Kuling town, Jiangxi *Chongqing *Guangzhou, Guangdong *Chengde, Hebei *Zhengding County, Zhengding, Hebei *Jingziguan, Henan *Wuhan, Hubei *Fenghuang Ancient City, Fenghuang, Hunan *Huai'an, Jiangsu *Luzhi, Jiangsu *Suzhou, Jiangsu *Tongli, Jiangsu *Yangzhou, Jiangsu *Zhenjiang, Jiangsu *Zhouzhuang, Jiangsu *Shenyang, Liaoning *Hancheng, Shaanxi, Hancheng, Shaanxi *Jinan, Shandong *Qufu, Shandong *Shanghai & Zhujiajiao *Pingyao, Shanxi *Chengdu, Sichuan *Huanglongxi, Sichuan *Lizhuang, Yibin, Lizhuang, Sichuan *Tianjin *Dali City, Dali, Yunnan *Jianshui County, Jianshui, Yunnan *Old Town of Lijiang, Lijiang, Yunnan *Nanxun District, Nanxun, Zhejiang *Wuzhen, Zhejiang *Xitang, Zhejiang

Famous sites

*Mount Lu, Mountain Lu, Jiujiang, Jiangxi, also called Lushan Quaternary Glaciation National Geopark, Mountain Lu National Park *Changbai Mountains, an important nature reserve home to the rare Siberian tiger *Grand Canal of China *Great Wall of China *Silk Road, abandoned cities along this famous ancient trading route. *Huangshan, Anhui *Mount Jiuhua, Anhui *Mount Tianzhu, Anhui *Forbidden City, Beijing, once the center of the 'Chinese imperial universe' and off-limits to the masses - now open to all *Summer Palace, Beijing *Temple of Heaven, Beijing *Dazu Rock Carvings, Chongqing *Three Gorges, Chongqing and Hubei *Gulangyu, Gulangyu Island, Fujian *Mogao Caves, Dunhuang, Gansu these 1,000-year-old man-made caves on the old Silk Road contain some of China's most impressive Buddhist heritage *Guling, Jiujiang, Kuling town, Jiujiang, located on top of Mount Lu, Mountain Lu, a former summer resort for European settlers in southern China *Li River (Guangxi), Li River, Guangxi, where boat trips are taken to see the contorted peaks that have been immortalized in Chinese scroll paintings *Caohai Lake, Guizhou, where many experience being punted along this shallow lake to see many of China's varied birdlife *Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival, Harbin, Heilongjiang, where extravagant and bizarre sculptures can be seen from life-size ice castles with rainbow lighting to fantastical snowy tableaux *Yabuli Ski Resort, Heilongjiang, the country's largest ski resort where many Chinese take their skiing holiday. *Longmen Grottoes, a parade of Buddhist figurines and reliefs, near Luoyang, Henan *Wudang Mountains, Hubei *Yalu River, Old Yalu Bridge, Dandong, Liaoning, a half-demolished bridge to North Korea is still an important relic of the Korean War. *Terracotta Army, Xi'an, Shaanxi, the former ancient capital, these 2,200-year-old life-size soldiers guard the tomb of China's first emperor. *Qufu, Confucius Mansion, Qufu, Shandong, home to nearly eighty generations of the great sage's clan. *Mount Tai (or ''Tai Shan''), Shandong, a holy peak home to immaculate temples and pavilions *The Bund (Shanghai), The Bund, Shanghai, an elegant parade along the Huangpu River of colonial architecture juxtaposed with Shanghai's skyscrapers *The Hanging Temple at Mount Heng (Shanxi), Mount Heng, Shanxi is a temple clinging to a precipice and a series of grottoes containing a panoply of Buddhist statuary *Yungang Grottoes, near Datong, Shanxi is a renowned Buddhist site. *Jiuzhaigou Valley, Sichuan *Leshan Giant Buddha, Sichuan, the world's largest carved Buddha *Mount Emei, Sichuan *Mount Qingcheng, Sichuan *Potala Palace, Lhasa, Tibet Autonomous Region, Tibet originally built by King Songtsän Gampo in 637 to greet his bride Princess Wencheng of the Tang Dynasty. *Xishuangbanna Dai Autonomous Prefecture, Yunnan, home to one of China's most unique minorities - the Dai people *West Lake, Hangzhou, Zhejiang

Tourist resources

Tourist resources in China can be divided into three main groups: natural sites, historical and cultural sites, and folk customs. China hosts the world's World Heritage Sites by country#Countries%20with%20major%20concentrations%20of%20World%20Heritage%20Sites, largest number of World Heritage Site, World Heritage Sites (List of World Heritage Sites in China, 55)

Natural sites

China's mountains, lakes, valleys, caves and waterfalls: Mount Tai (Tai Shan) in the east, Mount Heng (Hunan), Mount Hengshan in the south, Mount Hua in the west, Mount Heng (Shanxi), Mount Hengshan in the north, and Mount Song in the center of China have been called the Sacred Mountains of China, Five Sacred Mountains since antiquity. The Taishan massif, which snakes through central Shandong, is admired by Chinese as paramount among them. Another mountain celebrated for its beauty is Huangshan in southern Anhui, known for its graceful pines, unusual rocks, cloud seas and hot springs. Jiuzhaigou Valley, Jiuzhaigou, Huangguoshu Waterfall, and Guilin are all located in southwestern China. Jiuzhaigou in northern Sichuan is a beautiful "fairyland valley" running over 40 km through snow-covered mountains, lakes, waterfalls, and forest. The Huangguoshu Waterfalls in Guizhou are a group of waterfalls, 18 above-ground and four below, which can be heard from five km away. The Li River (Guangxi), Li River in Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region winds its way through karst peaks for 82 km between Guilin and Yangshuo County, Yangshuo. On the plateau in northern China are many spectacular lakes. The Heaven Lake of Tian Shan, Tianchi (Heavenly Pool) in the Tian Shan, Tianshan Mountains in Xinjiang Autonomous Region is 1,980 meters above sea level. This 105-m-deep lake is crystal clear, the high mountains surrounding it carpeted with green grass and colorful flowers. Along the renowned Three Gorges of the Yangtze River are many scenic spots and historical sites; the Qutang Gorge is rugged and majestic, the Wu Gorge elegant, deep and secluded, the Xiling Gorge full of shoals and reefs and rolling water. The Lesser Three Gorges are lush with greenery, flanking water so clear you can see to the bottom. The Three Gorges Dam built here is China's biggest key hydro-power project.

Historical and cultural sites

China's long history has left many cultural relics and the title of "China Top Tourist City" has gone to the first group of 54 cities. The Great Wall of China, Great Wall, a symbol of the Chinese nation, is also a prime example of historical sites that have become major tourist attractions. As the greatest defense-structure project in the history of human civilization, it dates back more than 2,000 years ago to the Spring and Autumn period, Spring and Autumn and the Warring States period, Warring States periods - huge in its scale and grandeur. There are more than ten sections of the Great Wall open to tourists, including the passes, blockhouses and beacon towers at Badaling in Beijing, Laolongtou in Hebei and Jiayuguan (pass), Jiayuguan Pass in Gansu. Grottoes filled with precious murals and sculptures are concentrated along the ancient Silk Road in Gansu. The best known are the Mogao Caves, a "treasure house of oriental art", with 492 caves with murals and statues on the cliff faces. There are 45,000 sq m of murals and over 2,100 colorful statues, all of high artistry. In the south, grotto art is represented in Sichuan by the Leshan Giant Buddha, carved into a cliff face. Seventy-one meters high and 28 meters wide, it is the largest sitting Buddha in stone, showing the carving skill of ancient craftsmen. The Shaolin Monastery, Shaolin Temple in Henan, the birthplace of Buddhism in China, Chinese Zen Buddhism and famous for its Shaolin Kung Fu martial arts, dates back to 495 AD. Here can be seen the Ming Dynasty, Ming period Five-Hundred-Arhats Mural and Qing Dynasty, Qing period Shaolin kungfu paintings. In Hubei, the beautiful Wudang Mountains, Wudang Mountain, with 72 peaks covering an area of , form a sacred site of Taoism, which preserves one of China's most complete and largest-scale ancient Taoist architecture. In western Sichuan, Mount Emei, dotted with ancient List of Buddhist temples, Buddhist temples and structures, is one of China's four sacred Buddhist mountains。 Most of China's 101 cities classified as famous historical and cultural cities are over 1,000 years old. South of the Yangtze, Yangtze River, Suzhou and Hangzhou, long known as "paradise on earth", are crisscrossed with rivers, lakes, bridges, fields and villages, as beautiful as paintings. Today's well-preserved ancient cities includes that of Pingyao in central Shanxi, but was also the site of the Neolithic era Yangshao culture, Yangshao and Longshan cultures, 5,000 to 6,000 years ago. Ancient Old Town of Lijiang, Lijiang in Yunnan is not only the center of Dongba culture of the Nakhi ethnic group but also a meeting place for the cultures of Han, Tibetan and Bai ethnicities. Built in the Song dynasty, this city has many stone bridges, stone memorial arches and dwelling houses, which provide precious materials for architectural history and can be called a "living museum of ancient dwelling houses."

Folk customs

"March Street" celebrated by the Bai people in Dali City, Dali, Yunnan, is associated with the Buddhist Goddess of Mercy suppressing a devil to help the Bai people. It became traditional to burn incense and offer sacrifices to commemorate her virtues every year and the festival has become a major annual gathering for Bai commercial, cultural and sports activities. The Water-Sprinkling Festival of the Dai people, Dai ethnic group in Xishuangbanna Dai Autonomous Prefecture, Xishuangbanna, Yunnan, is a lively occasion taking place in the spring. People chase and pour water (a symbol of good luck and happiness) over each other, among other activities such as dragon boat, dragon boat racing and peacock dance. Lugu Lake between Sichuan and Yunnan has become a tourist destination following the building of a new highway giving access to this area. The matriarchal society of the 30,000 local Mosuo people is noted for its "no marriage" traditions and is called the last women's kingdom on the earth. Mosuo women, local dugout canoes and undulating singing style are considered unique to Lugu Lake.

Tourist themes

The China National Tourism Administration promotes a tourist theme every year; 1992 was "Friendly Sightseeing Year." Then came "Landscape Tour", "Tour of Cultural Relics and Historical Sites", "Folk Customs Tour", "Holiday Tour", and "Ecological Environment Tour." From 2000 to 2004, the themes were "Century Year", "Sports and Health of China", "Folk Arts of China", and "Culinary Kingdom of China", and "Catch the Lifestyle." The themes for 2005 were "China Travel Year" and "2008 Summer Olympics, Beijing 2008 -- Welcome to China." In order to strengthen exchange and cooperation with the international tourism industry, the China National Travel Administration is planning a series of related events, including the Shanghai-hosted "2005 International Tourism Fair of China", the Beijing-hosted 2005 annual meeting of the Federation of Travel Agencies of France, and "the 2005 China-Australia Tourism Symposium." The China International Online Travel Fair 2005 held in March was comprehensive, providing an online exchange and trading platform between tour companies themselves and with their customers. Since 2013, all regions in China have had tourism publicity events under the "Beautiful China" umbrella, but with a different theme for each area. The year 2018 was declared as "Beautiful China – Year of Integrated Tourism" while 2017 was declared as "Beautiful China – Year of Silk Road Tourism".

Tourist services

The fast development of China's Transport in China, transportation infrastructure provides wide-ranging travel for domestic and overseas tourists. Throughout China a great many hotels and restaurants have been constructed, renovated or expanded to satisfy all levels of requirement, including many with five or six star ratings. All large or medium-sized cities and scenic spots have hotels with complete facilities and services for both domestic and international visitors. China has regulated international travel agency, travel agencies. On June 12, 2003, the China National Tourism Administration and the Ministry of Commerce of the People's Republic of China, Ministry of Commerce jointly issued Interim Regulations on the Establishment of Foreign-funded or Wholly Foreign-owned Travel Agencies. On July 18, 2003, the China National Travel Administration approved the registration of JALPAK International (China) Ltd. as the first wholly foreign-owned travel company to enter China's tourist market, mainly handling Tourism in Japan, Japanese tourism in China. On December 1, 2003, TUI China Travel Company was formally established in Beijing—the first overseas-controlled joint venture in China's tourism industry. The controlling party is Martin Buese China Limited and TUI Europe's largest travel group and their Chinese partner is China Travel Service.

See also

*Visa policy of China *Tourism in Taiwan *Golden Week (China) *Red tourism

Notes and references

External links

Ministry of Culture and Tourism of the People's Republic of China
{{Portal bar, China Tourism in China,