BEIJING - China announced on Sunday plans to build and upgrade 64,000 public toilets between 2018 to 2020 as part of its "toilet revolution" aimed at boosting tourism and lifting the sector's contribution to economic growth.
China has been keen to develop and expand services industries to move away from debt-fueled and investment-driven growth while offsetting the impact of persistently weak global demand for its exports.
Particularly, it has been looking at the emerging tourism industry, pledging late last year 2 trillion yuan or $290-billion (R4-trillion) in investment which it hopes will help lift the sector's contribution to annual economic growth.
While three years of "toilet revolution" have led to "significant achievements", according to the China National Tourism Administration (CNTA), the booming industry's prospects are clouded by wide-spread complaints about toilet hygiene levels at China's tourist sites.
Since 2015, China has poured 1.04 billion yuan into the building and renovating of 68,000 toilets, far exceeding its three-year goal of 57,000, state news agency Xinhua said.
"The toilet revolution... is an urgent and necessary measure to transform and upgrade our tourism industry," CNTA director Li Jinzao was quoted by Xinhua as saying.
Under the new initiative, China will have 47,000 toilets built and 17,000 existing ones refurbished in the next three years, Xinhua said.