FALLING FLAT: The “Beautiful China” international tourism pitch has been derided as inept at a time when record-busting smog has drawn attention to the environmental and health costs of China’s unfettered industrialization.
ECONOMIC BOOM: The slogan highlights the tin ear of an industry that has ridden the coattails of China’s rapid economic growth and increased global prominence, but failed to keep up with international travel trends.
LAGGING INDICATOR: According to the World Tourism Organization, the average growth rate in overnight visitors worldwide was 2.8 percent from 2008 to 2012. China’s was 2.1 percent. In the first nine months of this year, foreign overnight visitors dropped 7 percent to 15 million people.