Ad in Korean paper puts Ningxiang on map

Updated: 2015-04-23 08:31

By China Daily(China Daily)

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A full page advertisement in the Korean JoongAng IIbo daily newspaper helped put Ningxiang county on the map for a great many Chinese people. Previously, the small county in Hunan province was a place people failed to spot on their way to scenic Zhangjiajie.

The advertisement was titled with Chinese characters saying, "Come and visit Ningxiang as well as Zhangjiajie."

Despite being targeted at a South Korean audience, it garnered interest in China. More than 60,000 people read a micro blog post about it on the website of the San Xiang newspaper in Hunan province, and the post received more than 2,000 comments.

The advertisement was placed by Xiang Xiaguang, a 64-year-old restaurant owner in Guanshan village, Ningxiang county. It cost him 230,000 yuan ($37,500).

Xiang and his family run a lucrative restaurant that features farm-style food and generates an annual income of at least 200,000 yuan.

"Advertising in the Korean newspaper will benefit the whole tourist industry in Ningxiang for sure," Xiang said.

The idea for the newspaper advertisement was inspired by a trip to Zhangjiajie a few months ago. Xiang met busloads of South Korean tourists and was struck by the idea of promoting his home county. He felt the South Koreans should drive off the Ningxiang highway and stop by to take a look at his locality on their way to Zhangjiajie.

His son works in Yanbian Korean autonomous prefecture, Jilin province, and helped him to contact the Korean newspaper to place the advertisement.

In Xiang's view, although Ningxiang county is not as famous as Zhangjiajie, its attractions are rich in culture and worthy of a visit. The old home of the late president Liu Shaoqi and the Miyin Temple are just two of Ningxiang county's many historical sites.

The interest in the advertisement has pleased him. Xiang plans to continue to finance the advertisement if he can get further support from the government.

Even though Ningxiang county has a long way to go to catch up with its neighbor Zhangjiajie, it has doubled its revenue from tourism in just four years, said Yi Lianhong, secretary of the Party committee in Changsha, Hunan province.

In 2014, 14 million tourists visited Ningxiang county, generating 15 billion yuan in revenue for the tourism industry, more than 15 percent of the county's GDP, Yi said.

"Apart from the growing number of tourists and increased popularity, there is definitely room for improvement in aspects such as service facilities," he added.

Feng Zhiwei in Changsha and Wang Yanfei in Beijing contributed to this story.

(China Daily 04/23/2015 page4)