BEIJING: Francesco Frangialli, secretary general of the United Nations World Tourism Organization, last week forecast that the communist-governed People's Paradise will become the world's top tourist magnet inside the next thirteen years - a prediction doubtless noted by the big six global marketing services conglomerates.

At a ceremony in Beijing, Frangialli awarded each of the cities of Chengdu, Hangzhou and Dalian the accolade of 'Top Chinese Tourist City'. He also announced that the awakened tiger overtook Italy in 2006 to become the globe's fourth most popular national tourist attraction.

Still leading China as world number one destination is France, followed by Spain and the USA - but the tiger's numbers are inexorably rising.

According to the National Tourism Administration, the nation will achieve a record year-on-year growth of 10% in 2007, with revenue hitting one trillion yuan ($129bn; €99.24bn; £661.5bn).

After hearing the news, representatives from Omnicom, WPP, IPG, Publicis, Havas and Dentsu are said to be planning courtesy calls on NTA chairman Shao Qi Wei. He can be reached on (0086-10) 65201114.

Data sourced from People's Daily Online (China); additional content by WARC staff