SHANGHAI – China International Travel Service Corp. could raise as much as 2.6 billion yuan ($380.7 million) in its initial public offering, after it set an indicative price range of 10.80 yuan to 11.78 yuan a share for the deal Tuesday.

China International Travel, the country’s biggest tour agency by sales, said the indicative price range equates to a price/earnings ratio of 45-49.08 based on its 2008 earnings per share and an enlarged share base.

The price-earnings ratio, much higher than an average ratio of 26 in China’s stock market, shows investors’ enthusiasm for the country’s booming travel industry, which is benefiting from a rising affluent population and consumer spending.

Despite the global financial crisis and spread of the H1N1 flu among humans, China’s tourism revenue grew 11% to 498 billion yuan in the six months ended June 30, the state-run Xinhua news agency reported Monday.

China International Travel said last week it planned to sell as many as 220 million yuan-denominated A shares, or 25% of its enlarged share capital, ahead of its listing on the Shanghai Stock Exchange. It didn’t say when its shares will start trading.

The Beijing-based company said it will use the proceeds from the IPO to open 36 branches in Chinese cities, fund its six overseas subsidiaries and improve its online travel services.