Chongqing - Southwest China's Chongqing welcomes new foreign investment rules in the tourism and nursing industries, according to a recent approval notice issued by the State Council.
The approval notice stated 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 Chongqing and other places. Chongqing is the only province in the country that has obtained the "double pilot," according to the approval notice.
Global tourism has been hit strongly by the COVID-19 pandemic, undoubtedly. Tourism market data from China in the first quarter of 2022 showed a dip compared to the previous year's period. However, Chinese outbound tourism still occupies a substantial share of the global tourism market.
"The policy plays a role in the international promotion of the city of Chongqing and accelerates the upgrading of local tourism enterprises," said Michael Lee, secretary general of the Chongqing Association of Travel Agency.
After the policy's announcement, Chinese industry associations and local tourism enterprises have received inquiries from overseas travel agencies. "They are more concerned about the detailed rules of the policy and are intended to enter the mainland market through joint ventures or sole proprietorships," said Lee. "They look forward to sharing the huge dividends of China's inbound and outbound tourism market."
Under the Belt and Road Initiative, the first Sino-Singapore elderly care institution in Chongqing, ECON-BLB Elderly Care and Services is an excellent foreign-funded example, introducing Singapore's medical equipment, operation mode, and nursing system.
The introduction of Singapore's concepts of coordinated care and small units make it possible for the elderly to live in a large environment with their own private space, said Wang Qin, the institution's director.
"The integration of such foreign concepts and domestic experience in elderly care services can better promote Chongqing's development," said Liu Dawei, an official of the Chongqing Civil Affairs Bureau. "The pilot project will stimulate more foreign enterprises to enter Chongqing to start up and run elderly care institutions, improving the supply quality of elderly care services and bringing a better elderly care experience."
There are five foreign-funded elderly care institutions in Chongqing, with about 445 beds and 287 people. The occupancy rate has reached 65%, data shows.
Chongqing is tasked with a double pilot under its multiple benefits of location, resources, and ecology, seeing new prospects in the future as foreign investment rules eased.
"The policy opens the door for more foreign market players to enter Chongqing and brings more space for Chongqing to make use of foreign capital," said Wang Hongyao, an official of the Chongqing Municipal Commission of Commerce.
Meanwhile, it is bound to bring a more colorful consumption experience. "Citizens can choose more international culture and tourism services domestically and meet international and high-quality elderly care needs affordably and conveniently," Wang added.
In the future, a series of new business formats, models, and scenarios will be cultivated to expand emerging service industries and realize the organic combination.
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