Beijing leads China's tourism boom
Recent years have really seen China open itself up to the world and, in particular, tourists.
While once the country was closed off to all but a few select individuals, thanks to a more relaxed visa policy it is now one of the most visited countries in the world, with 54.7 million international tourists arriving in the country in 2007.
And one of the highlights many of those on overland adventure tours in China most look forward to is seeing the country's capital Beijing.
New figures from the Beijing tourism administration have revealed that the city contributes nearly ten per cent of the nation's tourism revenue, making it by far the most important component of China's travel industry.
China Daily reports that Beijing's service trade volume - measured by the revenue generated from both inbound and outbound tourists - reached $13.61 billion last year, a rise of 25.2 per cent on the year before.
So what makes Beijing such a popular destination among foreign visitors to China? Well, for one, the capital is a hugely influential cultural, financial and transport hub, making it a common starting point for business travellers and holidaymakers alike when they come to visit China.
But, as the newspaper points out, Beijing is also home to some of the most important historical sites in China.
"The Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square, housed in the city centre, and the Great Wall in its northern suburbs should be household names for foreigners with even a passing knowledge of China," said the publication.
"And tourists will be further fascinated by such places as the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) tombs, the Summer Palace, the Temple of Heaven and the city's many ancient hutongs, or alleyways."
However, in a country as vast and varied as China, visitors would miss out by just staying in one place, which is why an overland adventure in the country can be such a rewarding experience.
A tour of China may include a visit to the famous Terracotta Warriors in Xi'an, a trip to the southern jungles, the mountains in the west of the country, or the desert in the north.