China moves to bail out culture, tourism enterprises hit by virus outbreak
BEIJING, Feb. 26 (Xinhua) -- Chinese authorities have rolled out multiple measures to help enterprises weather the storm as the country put on hold all public art, cultural and tourism activities due to the novel coronavirus outbreak, said an official Wednesday.
Halting these activities has helped effectively curb the virus spreading, but also put culture and tourism enterprises in a difficult situation, said Liu Kezhi with the Ministry of Culture and Tourism at a press conference.
The ministry has worked with other authorities to bail out these enterprises, offering special funds, favorable financial policies, tax exemption, cost-reducing measures and better administrative services, he said.
The ministry also worked with the National Development and Reform Commission to earmark nearly 3.34 billion yuan (about 475.98 million U.S. dollars) in the central government budget for investment to support 343 projects of tourism infrastructure and public-service facilities, according to Liu.
A total of 3.46 billion yuan of "cash deposit for tourism service quality," or mandatory money saved by travel agencies in banks for possible emergencies or compensations, has been returned to travel agencies.
Over 35,000 agencies across the country are expected to receive a total of 8 billion yuan of cash deposit reimbursement, said Liu, adding that the move has eased cash flow difficulties for tourism enterprises.
Liu said the ministry also improved online services to make it more convenient for the enterprises to learn about bail-out measures rolled out by the central and local governments.