China’s air pollution affects tourism in 2014

Climate Change

China's air pollution affects tourism in 2014

Findings of a Chinese tourism survey suggest that air pollution may have taken a toll on China’s tourist industry, being responsible for a drop in how overseas visitors rated their stay and possibly even deterring people from making the trip.

According to the report published by China Tourism Academy, the number of overseas visitors coming to China declined by 0.45 percent in 2014 compared to 2013. The total revenue thus brought in, however, increased by 10.16 percent.

The satisfaction rate, which reflects the general feelings tourists have in relation to their trip in China, has dropped by 1.49 percent. The report attributes the decline to the “long lasting hazy and foggy weather across the country.”

“Overseas visitors tend to be more sensitive towards air quality than natives”, the report says, “and some international media would issue warnings in light of it.”

Foreign governments do that, too.

“The high levels of air pollution in major urban and industrialised areas in China may aggravate bronchial, sinus or asthma conditions. Children, the elderly and those with pre-existing medical conditions may be especially affected”, says the British government’s website.

The fog and haze were particularly severe last week across the northern part of the country as the area’s central heating systems were switched on, which predominantly rely on coal-burning.

The reading for “particulate matter 2.5 (PM 2.5)” had rocketed to 1,000ug/ m³ in the most severely hit northeastern provinces. A reading above 250ug/m³ is deemed “acutely polluted”.

According to the Economic Information Daily, an outlet of the Xinhua News, a bill is being drafted in relation to taxing polluting behaviors and is likely to be submitted to China’s State Council by the end of 2015 before it could be passed on to the National People’s Congress in the middle of next year.