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Early Travel Services
In spring 1923 Chen Guangfu, General Manager of the Shanghai Commercial Savings Bank Ltd., was cold-shouldered scoffingly when booking his passage at a British-run travel agency. In order to win credit for the Chinese, Chen made up his mind on returning to Shanghai to set up a travel service department within his bank so as to compete with the foreign travel agencies. He gave the task to Vice-manager Zhu Chengzhang, a return student and one-time Acting Director of the Railways Bureau. When the preparations were completed, the Shanghai Commercial Saving Bank Ltd. submitted a proposal to the Ministry of Communications under the Northern Warlords Government (1912-1927), asking for permission to establish a travel service department and to sell train tickets on a commission basis. At that time, as a good number of Chinese railways had been constructed on foreign loans, many of the important positions were occupied by foreigners. They went all out against the proposal at the National Railway Through Transport Conference. However, thanks to the support of General Director of Communications Ye Gongche and others, the proposal was finally adopted. On August 1, 1923, the Travel Service Department of the Shanghai Commercial, the first of its kind run by Chinese compatriots, was born in the Banks Building on Ningbo road. It moved to No.420 Sichuan Road the next year.
Head Office of C.T.S. located on Sichuan Zhong Road in 1927
By then there were already several foreign travel agencies in Shanghai, but they served foreign nationals only. Their practices did not suit China's actual conditions. In view of this, the Travel service Department worked out rules and regulations of their own. To attract customers to buy tickets, they made novel ticket holders to be given free with the tickets. Attendants wearing uniforms and caps bearing a five-star insignia showing the red Chinese character lu(travel) stood at the railway station or wharf to meet or see travelers off, Zhu Chengzhang in uniform himself once appeared in the meet-and-see-off attendant group. Shortly after the Travel Service department began doing business, two overseas Chinese came to book tickets from Shanghai to New York via London. since business like this had not been set up yet, Zhu personally drove to Thomas Cook & Son, a British travel agency, to purchase the tickets. Consequently, the reputation of the Travel Service Department grew rapidly with its business being extended day by day to cover sales of tickets for railway lines, steamers and ocean liners throughout the country.
The former director Zhu Chengzhang of C.T.S
In time branch departments were established in more than ten cities. Travel Service Department organized spring and autumn tourist parties or sightseeing tours of various famous places of historic interest and scenic beauty. In 1926 they arranged group tours of Japan to enjoy Japanese cherry blossoms. Thus, the Travel Service Department blazed a trail in running group tourism in China. Of all its tasks, the most noticeable the Travel Department took on was the one which provided those going abroad with services such as getting visas and passports, booking berths, purchasing foreign currency, and supplying information that would guide them in their life abroad. Among them, students going to the United States constituted the great majority. Every summer, as a rule, the Travel Service Department chartered for them several large ships that were to sail across the Pacific Ocean. There were several thousand students altogether.


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