Recommend January 2013 - (Page 110)

asia CHINA REMAINS A TIME-TESTED DESTINATION From deserts to sea, villages to great cities, Asia’s premier country has it all. sergio ortiz Of all the spots in the world that stimulate the yearning for travel, China traditionally stands head and shoulders as the premier Asian destination since it opened its gates 40 years ago. This comes as no surprise, as it offers variety as wide as its borders and allurements unlike anything on earth. It’s also not surprising that travel agents consistently pick China as their top-selling destination, constantly tweaking and adjusting their menus to meet the rapid changes within China. Some of the offerings remain constant. Visitors generally want to experience China’s ultramodern cities while simultaneously sampling its timeless culture; Beijing and Xi’an, with their majestic imperial past and a revolutionary period of self-isolation that kept the country as a tourism backwater for more than 50 years, offer the latter. On the other hand, Shanghai, with its modern skyline and vibrant way of life, has become a model for Asian cities. Changes are everywhere, pumped up by almost 30 years of unprecedented economic growth, leaving no way to avoid superlatives in describing China. With more than 1.3 billion people, it is the world’s most populous nation; it has the fastest growing economy in the world and its middle class is growing at a more rapid pace than elsewhere. But scratch under its megacities and huge trade surplus, followed by the sticker shock of its real estate prices surpassing those of New York or London, and one finds China to be a land of leisure—something it does on its usual grand scale—with an assortment of destinations that awe and astound. Most come just for a glimpse of its Great Wall, a landmark visited by nearly four million people every year where—again— superlatives seem inadequate: It’s more than 5,000 miles long, bisects 10 Chinese provinces and is accurately deemed one of the wonders of the world. Others visit Xi’an to gape at the greatest concentration of terracotta sculptures on earth. Indeed, the list of alluring destinations could fill an old-style telephone book. You want tropical resorts? Try Hainan, generally considered China’s Hawaii. Mountains? The country has ranges that defy the imagination. Deserts? Venture into the arid terrain of the Gobi or Mongolia. Weijian Luo, deputy director at the China National Tourist Office in Los Angeles, confirms that “China is a splendid country bestowed in abundant tourist resources with a combination of ancient treasures and modern wonders.” He adds that it is one of the world’s most visited destinations for Americans: More than 1.15 million arrived in 2011. “So vast is its territory and so varied its cultures,” Luo continues, “that one would have to spend a year to experience all its greatness.” Luo adds that 2014 has been designated as “China Year of Ocean Tourism, as the National Tourism Administration focuses on ocean tourism and highlighting beach resorts, cruising and seaside activities.” In line with this theme, Uniworld Boutique River Cruises has launched two new vessels—the Century Legend and the Century Paragon—that, with their new comfort and amenities, raise the bar for China river cruising. Says Guy Young, Uniworld president, “We have upgraded our China program for 2013 with these new ships and a new line of PARTNER CONCEPTS The Bailong Lift in Zhangjiajie.

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Recommend January 2013

Editor's Note
Hotel Desk: The Westlake Village Inn
Tour Talk: Brendan Vacations' Boutique Journeys
Four Cheers for River Crusing
A-ROSA Silva
Delta Air Lines' 2013 Caribbean, Mexico and Latin America Travel Guide
China Remains a Time-Tested Destination
What's Hot in Vegas for 2013
Back to the Gulf
Authentic Morocco in An (Argan) Nutshell
Festive Europe

Recommend January 2013