China has opened up $2 billion in tax credits to boost tourism, a move that could be seen as a first step towards boosting the number of foreign tourists in the country.
The China-led Asian Development Bank has announced a new $2,000 rebate program for tourism spending and said that in 2020, the country will boost the foreign tourist spending by 2.6 percent.
This year, China will open up to a total of 1.8 million domestic Chinese tourists, according to the bank.
China has long struggled with a shortage of domestic tourists, with domestic tourists accounting for less than 1 percent of total foreign visitors in 2017.
In addition, there are about 70,000 foreign Chinese in the Chinese tourist industry, according a 2016 report from the World Tourism Organization.
Chinese President Xi Jinping has promised to help spur the industry with his ambitious “One Belt, One Road” initiative, which will create 1.5 trillion yuan ($25 billion) of investment for China.
The $2 million in incentives are available to the Chinese government, state-owned enterprises and foreign tourists.
The tax credit will be extended to domestic Chinese and foreign Chinese, as well as Chinese citizens, and will be paid directly by the Chinese economy, the bank said in a statement.
“China will expand its tourism industry and help increase domestic Chinese tourism, and also help foreign Chinese and Chinese nationals to get a better and safer experience in China,” the bank added.
As part of China’s push for a more connected world, the Beijing government is also launching a series of initiatives aimed at promoting tourism, including a pilot project that will see visitors to Shanghai receive a Chinese ID card.