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China further opens its tourism market to foreign investors

The China National Tourism Administration (CNTA), the country's tourism regulator, announced Friday that it will resume accepting and reviewing applications for the establishment of foreign-financed travel agencies.

In a statement published on its Website, the CNTA says that starting September 15, applicants can submit their request forms to the Division of Travel Agency Administration under the Department of Quality Standardization and Administration of the CNTA.

According to the application instructions released along with the statement, applicants need to have a minimum registered capital of 300,000 yuan (about US$43,918), a stable business location and the necessary operating equipment.

The review process is free and will take no more than 30 days, the instructions say.

Since entering the World Trade Organization in 2003, China has been gradually opening its doors to foreign tourism investors. The Chinese government once allowed the establishment of foreign-funded travel agencies, yet later quietly stopped accepting applications. The resume of such reviews will surely help further open up China's tourism industry.

( by Yan Pei August 28, 2009)