T ourist attractions in China will now be classified according to hygiene, communications, safety and protection of the environment. Declaring this, a senior tourism official of the China National Tourism Administration ( cnta ) said the project will begin from October and would be classified into four grades.

Zhong Haisheng, vice-director, cnta, said the measure aims to improve long-term programmes and strives to bring in more tourists to the country. "It is helpful to keep a sustained development of China's tourism industry,' Zhong said. Wei Xiao'an, director of the policy and regulations department of cnta , said ecotourism should help to develop popular products to meet the demands of the ordinary people while designing specific products for tourists with particular needs.

"The tourism industry must focus on research of the tourism market, which guides the future development of our country,' Wei added. A survey indicates that China's tourism industry continues to boom since it launched ecotourism activities at the beginning of 1999.