China to Boost Economy by Getting People to Jump Out of Planes


China has targets for just about everything, from ethanol

production to reaching Mars.

Now the top economic planning body wants to get more tourists to hit the road, and has even announced targets for skydiving, water skiing and mountain climbing, as authorities push for more consumer spending to aid the economic transition away from old industrial drivers.

The goal is for 7 trillion yuan ($1 trillion) in tourism spending in 2020 and 20 percent average annual growth in investment in the industry by then, the National Development and Reform Commission said this month. The planning body also wants to make outdoor activities a 900 billion yuan industry by decade-end.

Authorities have even more specific annual targets for 2020: total output of 200 billion yuan from airborne sports, 300 billion yuan of aquatic activities, and 400 billion yuan of mountain sports such as hiking, climbing and biking, NDRC officials said at a recent briefing in Beijing.

All those targets are intended to serve an overarching objective: President Xi Jinping’s plan to double 2010 gross domestic product by 2020 and keep the world’s second-largest economy chugging along with average growth of at least 6.5 percent for five years.

"Chinese residents have moved from waves of emulative spending to more individualized, diverse and high-quality consumption" in sectors ranging from tourism to culture to sports, Cong Liang, director of the NDRC’s national economy department, told reporters at a recent briefing. "There’s a huge potential to unleash."

China, host of the 2022 winter Olympics outside the capital, wants to get 300 million people on the ski slopes, generating a projected 600 billion yuan by 2020. Authorities also plan to build 2,000 recreational vehicle camp grounds by the end of the decade. 

The country is increasingly relying on consumers to drive growth. Such spending accounted for 71 percent of economic expansion in the first three quarters of 2016.

Airborne sports are "high-technology, fashionable, and can clearly drive related sectors," according to a government document outlining its plans. The goal is to build 2,000 "flying camps," create 1,000 clubs for airborne activities and lure 20 million people to participate in airborne sports.

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