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"Double Pilot" with Consumption Potential and Foreign Capital Open to Chongqing | Expert

By ZHAN CHENICHONGQING|Oct 14,2022

Chongqing- The State Council issued approval on October 8, stating that foreign-invested travel agencies are allowed to set up in Shanghai and Chongqing to engage in outbound tourism in most regions; foreign-funded non-profit elderly care institutions are allowed to host in Tianjin, Hainan, and Chongqing.

The initiatives illustrate China’s comprehensive pilot project of opening up the service industry in Southwest China’s Chongqing and other places. Chongqing is the only province in the country that has obtained the “double pilot,” according to the approval.

Both pilot policies will attract foreign capital to expand and optimize the markets of tourism and elderly care, thereby bringing new industry opportunities for Chongqing and the entire western region, said Luo Zibo, senior consultant of Chongqing Tourism Economic Development. 

The Jiefangbei International Consumption Carnival opened in downtown Chongqing. (iChongqing file photo)

Foreign capital of tourism from Southeast Asia 

As Chongqing is speeding up to build itself into an open inland highland, “double pilot” means opening up opportunities above all, which stimulates foreign investment.

Data reveals that the scale and level of Chongqing’s open economy ranked at the forefront of the central and western regions, with 351 foreign-invested enterprises added in 2021, a year-on-year increase of 22.3%. Meanwhile, the actual utilization of foreign capital reached 10.67 billion U.S. dollars, with a year-on-year increase of 3.8%. 

Luo believes that the “double pilot” reflects China’s efforts to build Chongqing into an inland opening-up highland and provides a new path for Chongqing to boost consumption by expanding opening up.

As policies fall into place, local consumers possess more selections with broader coverage, while foreign capital will play a significant role in promoting the industry’s internationalization and quality with its diversified business concepts and models on high-quality tourism and elderly care. 

Luo thinks that with the constant exchanges between Chongqing and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) implementation, the proportion of tourists from Southeast Asia, Japan, and South Korea has risen in recent years.

Visitors buy goods in Chongqing Longmenhao Old Street. (iChongqing file photo)

Luo insists that foreign capital in such areas, especially with a high proportion of Chinese like Singapore, may jump first after the two policy’s implementation. 

Advantages of location, resources, and ecology

Chongqing is tasked with a “double pilot” with its multiple benefits of location, resources, and ecology.

For example, Chongqing has access to metropolis features and world-class natural and cultural heritage, such as the Three Gorges, South China Karst, and Dazu Rock Carvings.

On top of that, Chongqing has accumulated abundant development experience in the tourism and elderly care sectors.

For instance, Chongqing and Singapore jointly hosted the China-Singapore (Chongqing) Healthcare, Elderly Care, and Tourism Cooperation Seminar, proposing to expand cooperation in medical care, elderly care, and cultural tourism with 36 key cooperation projects. 

Statistics show that the number of elderly people aged 60 and above in the country reached 267 million by the end of 2021, accounting for 18.9% of the total population. With a trillion-level tourism market for the elderly, it is predicted that the total tourism consumption of the elderly population will reach over 2.4 trillion yuan by 2050. 

(Yang Qinmei, as an intern, also contributed to this report.)

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