Speed up tourism zone, urges Anhui governor

Updated: 2013-01-30 07:24

By Ma Chenguang in Hefei (China Daily)

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Anhui Governor Li Bin called on Monday for faster construction of an international cultural tourism zone in the East China province.

Speaking at the annual session of the provincial legislature, which ended on Monday, Li said the International Cultural Tourism Demonstration Zone of Southern Anhui can make the province famous for more than its world-renowned Huangshan Mountain.

The plan for the zone, authorized by the central government in August, covers six of Anhui's 16 prefecture-level cities, 27 percent of the province's land and 15 percent of its population. It includes Huangshan, Chizhou, Xuancheng, Wuhu, Ma'anshan and Tongling cities and Qianshan county under Anqing city.

Li said at the session that the zone should be promoted by protecting the unique local landscape and cultural resources, building more beautiful townships and nurturing appropriate industries.

Li is the head of the province's leading group in building the zone.

Hu Shanfeng, president of Huangshan University's Tourism College, said on Tuesday that the zone presents Anhui's Huizhou culture, which has a history of thousands of years and is one of China's three major regional cultures, the other two being Tibetan culture and Dunhuang culture. Making the zone a national program shows China's determination to protect its culture, Hu said.

The key to attracting international visitors to the cultural tourism demonstration zone is preserving a unique local culture, because beautiful natural scenery can be seen elsewhere, Hu said.

Besides its culture, southern Anhui is also known for its beautiful landscape. It was called "the Oriental Switzerland" by Chinese scholar Tao Xingzhi (1891-1946), he added.

The top priority is advocating Huangshan, because it has Huangshan Mountain and is the core of Huizhou culture, Hu said.

Xu Jiwei, head of the administrative committee of the Huangshan Mountain scenic area, agreed that the scenic spot should be better developed and play a leading role in the national strategy.

Some experts caution that the heritage must be preserved. Lu Faru, a history professor at Anhui University in Hefei, said protecting the zone's 5,000 cultural relics and extensive literature of more than 4,000 documents should be the priority rather than generating more revenue, because they are non-renewable resources.

Hu Xuefan, head of the Anhui Tourism Administration, said the first thing the government should do is check the zone's cultural resources, design appropriate projects to develop them during the 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-15) and when necessary, attract social funds for the development.

He stressed that special products for cultural tourism and tour routes should be designed to lure visitors, adding that it is also vital to publicize the zone both at home and abroad.

Local city officials welcomed the national program. Xuancheng Mayor Han Jun said he will lead a delegation to Hong Kong in April to attract investment.

Chizhou Mayor Zhao Xinqun stressed that Jiuhua Mountain in the city will see a rise in visitors after Chizhou Jiuhuashan Airport opens.


(China Daily 01/30/2013 page5)