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Sichuan offers discount tourism deals

Chengdu City, the capital of Sichuan Province, has launched discount tourist cards.

The cards are intended to help boost the recovery of tourism in Sichuan after last year's massive earthquake. Chengdu's tourism authorities will distribute 15 million Gold Panda cards across the country with 5 million Silver Panda cards for Sichuan residents, Xinmin Evening News reported Tuesday.

Residents with IDs can apply for the cards at designated outlets and after paying 1 yuan (15 U.S. cents), they can activate the cards online at www.pandahome.com.

Residents can also apply online at www.ctrip.com or www.pandahome.com and pick up their cards when they arrive at Chengdu. Tourists can find the cards at the Chengdu international airport, the railway station or some supermarkets. No English service is available.

With the cards, visits can get free admission to 11 sightseeing attractions in Sichuan including Mount Qingcheng and Dujiangyan Dam. Panda Gold cards can save visitors 708 yuan in admission fees until the end of the year.

The cards offer more than just free admissions – users will also be able to enjoy discounts at hotels and restaurants.

Some scenic attractions in Sichuan are offering half price admission throughout May. Some attractions, such as Mount Emei and Jiuzhaigou Ravine, will be free on May 12, the anniversary of the quake.

(Shanghai Daily April 15, 2009)