The best tourist city in China is …

The best tourist city in China is …

Suzhou beat Xiamen and Huangshan for the title of “most satisfactory” tourist city in China
suzhou garden
Suzhou is most famous for its well-preserved classic gardens, such as Humble Administrator's Garden (拙政园) and Lingering Garden (留园).

If you are planning your Christmas or New Year’s holidays and would like to experience the best of Chinese tourism, head to Suzhou (苏州), which lies about 30 minutes' west of Shanghai by bullet train.

A recent survey among Chinese and internationals travelers indicated that Suzhou was the “most satisfactory” tourist city in China for the third quarter of 2011.

Organized by China Tourism Academy, the nationwide survey was conducted from July to September and ranked a total of 50 major tourist cities in China.

The results were based on 7,579 on-site questionnaires, 14,849 online comments and 914 travel-related complaint letters.

Suzhou, Xiamen and Huangshan

Suzhou topped the list with 85.34 total points (out of 100). Seaside city Xiamen and traditional mountain destination Huangshan ranked second and third respectively. Northern metropolis Shenyang and Sichuan's capital Chengdu grabbed the fourth and fifth place.

This is the first time that Suzhou has been pegged China’s best tourist city.

“[China’s] tourism is never short of resources and products,” noted Shen Wenjuan (沈文娟), head of Suzhou’s Travel and Tourism Bureau, to Suzhou Daily. “What needs to improve urgently is the tourist service.”

More on CNNGo: From Shanghai to Suzhou on a slow, slow bus

Suzhou is most famous for its classic Chinese-style gardens, waterways and opera. It also boasts the largest wedding market in China.

Although the final number has yet to be disclosed, according to the city's Travel and Tourism Bureau, Suzhou will earn approximately RMB 99.864 billion from tourism alone for the first 10 months of 2011, a 15 percent increase compared to the same period of last year.

Other results

The “most improved” Chinese tourist city title went to Guang’an (广安), the hometown of Deng Xiaoping, followed tightly by Muslim-influenced Yinchuan and Xining.

The survey also revealed that east Chinese cities enjoy a higher satisfaction rate on a national level, but the gap between east and west Chinese cities is becoming smaller.