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Early Travel Services

C.T.S. providing services for students going
to the United States for further study in 1926

On June,1927, the Travel service Department started to manage affairs on its own, hanging up the big signboard China Travel Service. Later, the name "travel service" was adopted by many people of the same trade, and is still in use now. After the Travel Service Department changed its name, Zhu Chengzhang, now the first Director of the China Travel Service, lost no time in concluding agreements for mutual aid and cooperation with a few foreign travel agencies of international renown. Travelers who had letters of introduction from the China Travel Service was, therefore, able to move beyond China's borders and extend its services to many parts of the world. Its branch offices, which had been expanded to more than 40, were distributed over China's various big cities and famous scenic spots. Hong Kong and Singapore also had its branches, and Shanghai boasted ten.

The scope of business also expanded to cover the following: selling air tickets, issuing and cashing traveler's checks, strengthening the reception of foreign travelers, booking hotels in towns or cities other than Shanghai, handling the consignment of baggage and goods for shipment, acting as insurance agent, and rendering postal and telecommunications service.


Nanking's Capital Hotel, then rated ad first-class


The China Travel Service enjoyed especially high prestige for its excellent cargo service and its effective handling of big freight transport tonnage. In these it was unequaled among travel agencies in China. In 1935 it was the China Travel Service that was responsible for moving southward more than one hundred thousand jewels and treasures from the Imperial Palace in Peking. The China Travel Service also ran first-class hotels in the country such as the Capital Hotel of Nanking, the Western Capital Hostel of Xi'an and the Hongdu Hostel of Nanchang. It also built over ten hostels along vital communication lines and in regions of scenic beauty.

In addition, the China Travel Service had its staff members participate in the preparatory work for the holding of grand conferences on academic exchange between Chinese and foreign scholars, international fairs, exhibitions on highway developments, and athletic meetings. In 1927, it started publication of China's first tourist periodical Tourist Magazineand a monthly called Travel Guidebook. It also published a number of tourist guidebooks, among which A Handbook of travel in America was a must for students going to that country. Meanwhile , it set up a mailing department in Seattle, the U.S.A., and delivered 5,000 circulars to personalities of various circles in America, soliciting them for a tour of China. In summer 1933, in view of the Nanking Government's decision not to take part in the Chicago International Fair, the China Travel Service sent there from Shanghai on a non-governmental basis several hundred photographic masterpieces and various kinds of brochures and pamphlets, including five written by the well-known journalist Edgar Snow.

Tourist Magazine, China's first periodical for tourism published by C.T.S. in Shanghai in 1927

During the eight years of the War of Resistance Against Japan (1937~1945), the China Travel Service set up in succession nearly a hundred branches, hostels and canteens in southwest China and its northwestern rear area, in Hanoi, Haiphong and Saigon of Vietnam, in Rangoon of Burma, and in Calcutta and Bombay of India. After victory, the China Travel Service once again displayed its tremendous power and strength in assisting people of all walks of life on their way home eastward. because of its resumption of business, the front of its once unfrequented location-420 Sichuan Road, Shanghai-again presented a booming scene through with people and vehicles.

Now, the old-line China Travel Service and its branches have been re-established in many parts of the country and in a number of big cities of the world. Their business is growing by leaps and bounds as China's tourism develops.



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