Clinton trip to boost Guilin issue

PUBLISHED : Friday, 29 May, 1998, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 29 May, 1998, 12:00am

Guilin, the popular tourist city in Guangxi province renowned for its exotic natural beauty, plans to take advantage of US President Bill Clinton's visit next month to drum up interest in selling shares to foreign investors.

Mr Clinton is scheduled to visit Guilin, Beijing, Shanghai and Xian.

Hong Kong is also on his itinerary.

Guilin Tourism Corp chairman Zhao Ming yesterday said the municipal government-supported company was planning to sell B shares on the Shenzhen stock exchange.

'The government has said the company will be the city's only travel conglomerate after listing,' he said.

The planned B-share offer had the support of Premier Zhu Rongji, who personally wrote instructions on documents related to the listing plan, he said.

Mr Zhao was in the SAR yesterday to participate in the International Travel Expo Hong Kong.

Mr Zhao would not give details of the listing plan, but sources said the flotation would raise about $300 million and take place in the third quarter, subject to market conditions.

Assets to be included in the listing vehicle were river-tour operations, two three-star hotels, travel agencies and theme parks.

River tours on the famous River Li generate most of the company's income, of which mainland tourists account for 90 per cent and foreigners the rest.

Mr Zhao said limited exposure to foreign tourists meant the firm would be little affected by the region's turmoil.

In the first quarter, overall tourist arrivals rose 12 per cent as a 20 per cent increase in mainland tourists more than offset a 27 per cent drop in foreign tourists, he said.

'There was a significant drop in tourist arrivals from the region, particularly South Korea,' he said.

During the first quarter of this year Guilin received 1.1 million visitors.

Last year, Guilin registered tourist receipts of 3.1 billion yuan (about HK$2.88 billion), of which 1.9 billion yuan came from domestic tourists, and 1.2 billion yuan from foreigners.