China's tourism investment is expected to maintain rapid growth in 2017 as ongoing consumption upgrades will keep the sector on the fast track.
The China National Tourism Administration (CNTA) Friday said tourism will remain a magnet for private capital, predicting direct investment will jump more than 20 percent from last year to 1.5 trillion yuan (218.07 billion U.S. dollars) this year.
Hot areas within the sector include rural travel, big data and tourism equipment.
"From now to 2040, the tourism will witness a golden period," Li Jinzao, head of the CNTA, said during a forum.
With China's GDP per capita surpassing 8,000 U.S. dollars, the sector is embracing for explosive growth boosted by steady economic development, rising incomes and consumption upgrades, Li said. "There will be sustainable increases in tourism consumption abilities and travel demand, as well as the number of tourists."
Given lackluster traditional industries, services, including tourism, have stood out as fresh impetus to the slowing economy. In 2016, the tourism revenue in China totaled 4.69 trillion yuan, contributing around 11 percent to the national economy.
Tourism investment rose 29 percent year on year in 2016, outpacing an 18-percent increase in the whole tertiary sector and a 21-percent rise in fixed assets.
The CNTA expects more than 14 billion trips will be made by 2040, which equates to every Chinese travelling at least nine times within the year. "Travel will be a part of the people's everyday lives," said the CNTA.
The country's first tourism fund was established by China National Travel Service Group Corporation at the forum on Friday, with total capital of up to 50 billion yuan.