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Sunday, June 29, 2008

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Approved Destination Status (ADS) is nothing to sneeze at when we are talking about more potential tourists from China, ready to bring their hard-earned yuan to our shores. Thanks to the ADS agreement, signed at the end of last year by the China National Tourism Administration and the U.S. Commerce Secretary, many more leisure visitors are now allowed to travel to the land of plenty, and it’s most lustrous pearl—San Francisco. The inaugural group of 121 Chinese enjoyed a welcome reception by the SF Convention & Visitors Bureau (SFCVB) and Pier 39 on Saturday, riding a Blue & Gold Fleet boat around the Bay. When asked if the city is not hosting enough tourists on a daily basis as of now, Robert MacIntosh, Pier 39 President and CEO decisively replied, no, supported by the SFCVB reps, Deborah Reinow and Helen Tsui. Anthea McGoldrick, Pier 39 VP, was busy distributing Golden Gate cruise brochures, discount fun packs, and folding binoculars to the guests, and the Paul Scheffert Trio played The Days of Wine and Roses all the way around Alcatraz island and back. “We have so many new adventures here,” said the boat deck hand, Bruce McBride. “People are coming from all over the world to bike across the Golden Gate Bridge and come back with the Blue & Gold ferry.” He mentioned that the popular fleet has four tour boats and three ferries, and shared his idea about “saving the Rock.” “I say, ‘shave the rock,’ said McBride. “Bring in some large marine animals, whales, seals, and let people watch them here up close.” As if collaborating with the city’s hospitality team efforts, the sun peeked through the fog just for this short trip, bringing out all the uncanny beauty of the sugar-cube cityscape over the shimmering green waters. ADS will make it easier for San Francisco to market itself as a travel destination for Chinese visitors, and it is expected that while currently, about 300,000 Chinese citizens visit the U.S. each year, this number will increase to approximately 579,000 by 2011. To learn more, visit and Photo by Yuri Krasov.


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